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Girls' soccer knocked out by ECM

Raider forward Megan Claflin is tripped up just outside the box in the first half of the Hudson girls' soccer team's 2-0 sectional semifinal loss to Eau Claire Memorial Thursday afternoon at the middle school field. Photo by Bob Burrows

Eau Claire Memorial scored two goals in the first 17 minutes of the game, then held off a relentless Raider attack to escape with a 2-0 win in a WIAA sectional semifinal Thursday afternoon in Hudson.

The loss ended the Raiders' season with a record of 14-6-1. Eau Claire Memorial, which improved to 12-6-4, moved on to the sectional final where it dropped a 4-0 decision to Wausau East Saturday in Eau Claire.

"I would say Memorial definitely came out stronger than us at the start of the game and earned two goals early," Raider head coach Allie Knutson said. "So by the time we got more into our rhythm we were already down two goals. I was proud of how Hudson played, though, never letting down despite the fact we were losing."

Hudson's best scoring chance came 11 minutes before halftime when forward Megan Claflin was tripped up while going for a ball just outside the penalty box. The Raiders were awarded a direct free kick from 19 yards out, but senior co-captain Katy Tantalean's shot hit the crossbar.

The Raiders outshot the Old Abes 9-6, but Eau Claire Memorial held a 7-2 advantage in corner kicks and picked up their second goal during a scramble in front of the net following a corner kick.

The game was the last as head coach for Knutson, who took over just before the start of the season and will begin a 27-month commitment to the Peace Corps this week. She said she was proud to serve as the team's coach this season.

"Hudson has a lot of very talented players, and when they were playing well it was amazing to see what they could do together as a team," she said. "Everyone should expect big things from this team next year."

Knutson said the team will return around 18 players next season, and she credited this year's six seniors -- Tantalean, Jen Millin, Jess Sutmar, Ashley Iverson, Abbie Beaudry and Anna Bellinger -- with laying the groundwork for a bright future for the program.

"They will be greatly missed, but I think they have done a great job of setting the tone for the young players on this team, and I know the underclassmen can step up and fill their shoes," she said.

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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