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Raiders regional soccer champs

Hudson's five representatives on 2009 All-Big Rivers Conference Girls' Soccer Teams got together for a photo before last Tuesday's 8-0 regional semifinal victory over Superior. From left are sophomore midfielder Paige Ommen, senior midfielder Ashley Iverson, senior defender Katy Tantalean, senior midfielder Abbie Beaudry and junior defender Natalie Anderson. Iverson, Beaudry and Anderson were named to the All-BRC first team while Ommen was selected to the second team and Tantalean received honorable ment...

After 100 minutes, nothing had been decided at Saturday's WIAA Division 1 soccer regional final between Hudson and River Falls in Chippewa Falls.

The teams, who split two games during the regular season, were tied 2-2 after 80 minutes of regulation and 20 more minutes of two overtime periods.

That forced a penalty kick shootout to decide the outcome, and when Hudson's Bri Elliott beat River Falls' goalie made Bump in the fourth round, it gave the Raiders the regional championship and set up a rematch with Eau Claire Memorial in the sectional semifinals Thursday at the Hudson Middle School field.

"It was pretty intense," Raider head coach Allie Knutson said.

River Falls led 1-0 at halftime thanks to a goal by Sarah Vitale just under 13 minutes in. But the Raiders dominated the first 20 minutes of the second half, getting goals from Megan Claflin and Abbie Beaudry to take a 2-1 lead.

The Wildcats tied the score with just under 12 minutes remaining in regulation on a goal by Ella Bump to force overtime.

The two teams split during the regular season, with the Raiders winning 4-3 at home on April 9 and the Wildcats taking a 1-0 decision on their home field on May 5. But this game was going to be decided in a shootout on a neutral field.

Big Rivers Conference Player of the Year Ashley Iverson started the Raiders off on the right foot by scoring on the team's first opportunity, and keeper Tessa Bakken, who made five saves in the first 100 minutes, denied River Falls' attempt to keep the Raider advantage at 1-0.

Jen Millin scored the second penalty kick goal for Hudson and the Wildcats' shot sailed over the net to give Hudson a 2-0 edge with three shots to go in the best of five format.

Katy Schulte pushed her shot wide right in the next round, but Bakken blocked the Wildcats' next attempt to keep it at 2-0.

Elliot then set off the Raiders' celebration when she scored the clinching goal in round four. The goal gave the Raiders a 3-0 lead but River Falls only had two shots left, meaning the Raiders were regional champs.

"Tessa Bakken came up huge!" Knutson said about the Hudson goalkeeper.

Hudson, now 14-5-1 overall, will host Eau Claire Memorial, 11-6-4, in a sectional semifinal Thursday, June 4 at 2:00 p.m. The early time is to accommodate for Eau Claire Memorial's graduation later that night. The Old Abes also won in a shootout Saturday, defeating top-seeded Chippewa Falls 4-3 on penalty kicks after playing to a scoreless tie.

Wausau East and Rhinelander will square off in Thursday's other sectional final. The winners will meet Saturday, June 6 at 1 p.m. at Eau Claire North for a berth in next week's WIAA State Tournament.

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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