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Soccer splits in BRC play

Raider senior Ashley Iverson (9) battles River Falls' Ashley Brown for a ball in the air in the first half of the teams' Big Rivers Conference showdown last Tuesday in River Falls. Brown scored the only goal of the game to hand Hudson just its second BRC loss of the season, 1-0. Photo by Bob Burrows

The Raider girls' soccer team bounced back from a 1-0 loss to River Falls last Tuesday to shut out Rice Lake, 3-0, at home Thursday night.

Friday and Saturday the team traveled to Brookfield for the Al Gusho Tournament, where it dropped a pair of games--3-0 to Brookfield East Friday night and 6-0 to Kettle Moraine Saturday.

The Raiders slipped into a tie with Chippewa Falls for first place in the Big Rivers Conference, each at 7-2. The two teams will square off Thursday, May 14 at 7 p.m. at the Hudson Middle School field where Hudson will try to avenge a 4-0 loss in Chippewa Falls back on April 21.

Last Tuesday at River Falls, both teams had six shots on goal on a windswept field, but the Wildcats garnered the only goal of the game off the foot of Ashley Brown late in the first half.

"The wind was very strong, which did affect us, though River Falls had the same wind we did," Raider head coach Allie Knutson said.

Knutson said she thought the Wildcats won more of the 50-50 balls in the match.

"Our first game against River Falls was a tough, close game," Knutson said, referring to the Raiders' victory over the Wildcats April 9. "I knew this time it would be a similar story. Unfortunately, this time we did not win, which is always disappointing to beat a team, only to lose to a team the second time around."

The Raiders made sure that didn't happen Thursday at home against Rice Lake, where they completed a season sweep of the Warriors with a 3-0 victory.

Senior captain Jen Millin picked up her first goal of the season with a nice shot from outside the box for the only goal of the first half. Paige Ommen struck a beautiful ball into the back of the net in the second half to make it a 2-0 game before Megan Claflin converted a cross from defender Anna Bellinger for the Raiders' final goal.

Keeper Tessa Bakken recorded her sixth shutout of the season as the Raiders outshot the Warriors 11-1.

"I was happy with the team's possession, now we just have to start converting on more of the opportunities we create," Knutson said.

The coach said the weekend's two losses at the Al Gusho Tournament in Brookfield, which consistently features some of the best teams in the state, was a mixed bag for the Raiders, who dropped to 9-4 overall.

"Brookfield East was, by far, the best team we have played all season," she said. "I was very impressed by how Hudson played, despite the score. Saturday though, Kettle Moraine was also a good team, though not nearly as good as the score seemed to indicate."

If nothing else, Knutson said the overnight road trip was a good experience for the team.

"The weekend was a lot of fun, and a good chance for the girls to spend time together and just bond as a team," she said. "Plus, it is nice to go and see what the soccer is like on the other side of the state."

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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