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Chippewa Falls Cardinals trip up Raider booters

It's not easy trying to figure out the race for the Big Rivers Conference girls soccer title this season.

Earlier this season, River Falls beat Chippewa Falls, and Hudson beat River Falls, and Eau Claire North and Eau Claire Memorial played to a scoreless tie. Then last Tuesday in Chippewa Falls, the Cardinals handed the Raiders their first loss of the season, 4-0, to further tighten things up.

As of Monday of this week, one game separated the top five teams in the conference. Hudson leads the pack with a record of 4-1 followed by Eau Claire North and Eau Claire Memorial each at 3-1-1 and Chippewa Falls and River Falls each at 3-2.

Things should loosen up a little this week. The Raiders and Old Abes played Tuesday night at the middle school while River Falls was at Eau Claire North and Chippewa Falls was scheduled to host winless Menomonie.

"You really never know," Hudson coach Allie Knutson said. "On any given day..."

(Post-press time note: The Raiders defeated ECM Tuesday by a score of 2-0.)

Last Tuesday at Chippewa Falls, Emily Passint and Ellie Leinenkugel scored two goals apiece for the Cardinals as they stayed within a game of the Raiders in the conference standings.

"To their credit, they were the stronger and more aggressive team," Knutson said about Chippewa. "They have some big, strong players who know how to use their body to their advantage; this really challenged our whole team."

The Cardinals also play on an artificial turf field, something that gives them a huge home-field advantage. Their two losses this season have come at River Falls and at Eau Claire North.

"Not to make excuses, but our girls were not used to this and have not trained on turf at all this season," Knutson said. "We are looking forward to playing Chippewa again."

The Raiders, 6-1 overall, continue BRC play Thursday, April 30 at home at 7 p.m. against Menomonie. The Raiders defeated the Indians, 2-1, in double overtime back on April 7.

Bob Burrows
Bob Burrows has been sports editor at the River Falls Journal since 1996 and at the Hudson Star-Observer since 2009. Prior to joining the Journal, Burrows served as sports editor with Ledger Publications in Balsam Lake, Wis. A native of Bayonne, N.J. and a U.S. Navy veteran, Burrows attended Marquette University before completing his studies at UW-River Falls in 1992.
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