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Booters win 2 of 3

Raider senior captain Katy Tantalean (17) separates a Chippewa Falls player from the ball in the first half of a Big Rivers Conference showdown between the two teams Thursday at the middle school field. The Cardinals edged the Raiders, 2-0. Photo by Bob Burrows

The Raider girls soccer team won two of its three matches last week, but the one that got away was a 2-0 loss to Chippewa Falls that leaves the Raiders a half game behind the first-place Cardinals in the Big Rivers Conference standings.

Hudson, 8-3 in the BRC, will wrap up the regular season Thursday, May 21 at Eau Claire Memorial (5-3-2), while the Cardinals (8-2) have two games remaining -- Tuesday at home against Eau Claire Memorial and Thursday at Menomonie (0-10).

While Hudson will need some help in its bid for the BRC title, Raider head coach Allie Knutson said the team would welcome another shot at Chippewa Falls in the playoffs. The Cards swept the Raiders this season to account for two of Hudson's three conference losses.

"If we get the opportunity to face Chippewa again in the playoffs, I am sure it will be another hard-fought game," Knutson said. "And I think the Hudson girls would love the chance."

The WIAA regional playoffs get underway Thursday, May 28.

While Thursday's loss was a tough one, the Raiders also posted two victories last week--a 2-0 BRC decision over Eau Claire North on Parents Night last Tuesday and a 4-0 nonconference win over New Richmond Saturday--to improve to 11-5 overall.

Paige Ommen and Allie Beaver accounted for the Raider goals in Tuesday's win over Eau Claire North, both unassisted and both in the second half. Ommen connected on a boomer from way outside the box while Beaver sealed the win with about 13 minutes remaining when her shot was mishandled by the Husky goalkeeper and slipped into the net.

"Paige is one of the few girls on our team that can score from way outside the penalty box," Knutson noted. "She had five shots on goal in this game, so it was nice for her to get a goal out one of them."

Hudson outshot North 8-4 as Raider keeper Tessa Bakken recorded her seventh shutout of the season.

Saturday, on a cold, blustery morning at the high school field, the Raiders scored four second half goals and Bakken posted her eighth shutout of the season in a 4-0 win over New Richmond.

Freshman McKenzie Buck started the scoring with a low, hard shot into the corner of the net, assisted by Ommen.

"We were having a really hard time getting that first goal, so it was awesome seeing our lone freshman step up and get the first goal," Knutson said. "She has remarkable composure on the ball."

Megan Kelly made the score 2-0 with a header off a corner kick from Abbie Beaudry.

"This is the second beautiful header goal she has had this season," Knutson said about Kelly's score. "I don't think anyone else on the team would have scored this header goal; it was textbook."

Megan Claflin scored the Raiders' third gal, again off a corner kick when the ball was free in the box and Claflin put a foot on it. Katy Schulte made the final 4-0, assisted by Buck, on a shot from just outside the penalty box.

"I was happy with her decision to shoot from a little further out, as earlier in the game we kept getting caught up trying to tee-up a perfect shot," Knutson said.

Despite Thursday's loss, Knutson said she was proud of the way the Raiders handled themselves in a tough, physical match with Chippewa Falls.

"We were aggressive in the air, and did not let Chippewa's constant extra shoves after the whistle get to us," she said. "I was also very happy that none of my players got cards for unsporting (conduct), and unlike Chippewa Falls, if mine would have, I would not put them back in the game."

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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