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Raider soccer team keeps pace in Big Rivers

Hudson junior Maggie Koehler (white) races by a Rice Lake defender before getting off a shot on goal in the Raiders girls’ soccer team’s Big Rivers Conference game against the Warriors last Thursday at the middle school field. Koehler assisted on the only goal of the game by senior Alexa Haines to give the Raiders a 1-0 victory. (Hudson Star-Observer photos by Bob Burrows)1 / 2
Hudson senior captain Lauren Berglund (white) beats a Rice Lake player to the ball in the first half of the Raiders’ 1-0 victory over the Warriors last Thursday at the middle school field.2 / 2

The Raider girls’ soccer team posted three more wins last week, including a pair of Big Rivers Conference victories, to keep pace with conference-leading Eau Claire Memorial and improve top 13-2-1 overall this season.

Hudson knocked off Menomonie, 5-1, on the road last Tuesday before topping Rice Lake, 1-0, Thursday at home. They followed that up with a 4-1 nonconference victory Friday at New Richmond.

The Raiders now sit at 7-1-0 in BRC play right behind first place Eau Claire Memorial (7-0-0). The Old Abes handed the Raiders their only conference loss of the season May 9 and the two teams met again, after press time, this past Tuesday, May 20, in Eau Claire.

Hudson returns home this Thursday, May 22, to host Chippewa Falls on Senior Night at 7 p.m. at the middle school field. They visit River Falls Tuesday, May 27, before wrapping up the regular season at Eau Claire North Thursday, May 29.

Last Tuesday in Menomonie, Alexa Haines scored two goals and Lauren Berglund, Jordan Helterbrand and Maggie Koehler had one goal apiece in the Raiders’ 5-1 victory over the Mustangs.

Head coach John Knutson said he was concerned his team might take the Mustangs lightly after posting a 4-0 victory over them earlier this season.

“In the Big Rivers Conference, like in most sports, on any given day, anyone can beat anyone else,” he said. “But when the game started, our girls took care of business.”

Haines got things going with an unassisted goal 7 minutes, 14 seconds into the game before Berglund buried a penalty kick to make the score 2-0.

Helterbrand dribbled through the Menomonie defense and scored to widen the gap to 3-0 before Taylor Klatt set up Haines for her second goal of the game with just under four minutes remaining in the first half.

The Mustangs scored their only goal midway through the second half before Koehler scored an unassisted goal to make the final 5-1.

Thursday the Raiders celebrated Parents Night and came away with a 1-0 victory over Rice Lake.

Haines accounted for the only goal of the game after taking a pass from Koehler and beating the Warrior goalkeeper at the 18:37 mark of the first half. The Raiders outshot the Warriors, 26-7, something Knutson credited the defense for.

“We have been outshooting teams on average by three or four shots to one in our games and a lot of credit for that and our wins go to our defense,” the coach said. “Led by senior captains Lauren Berglund and Markie Thompson and helped by juniors Emily Ryder, Megan Monette, Sarah Hallen and Madi Hemauer, our defensive players have really played strong for us this year.”

Hudson traveled to New Richmond Friday for nonconference makeup game against the Tigers and found themselves trailing 1-0 before recording four unanswered goals to win their third game of the week.

Kate Sanocki tied things up in the 29th minute when she took a pass from Haines at the top of the box and sent a hard shot into the upper corner of the net. Four minutes later Haines took a ball from Koehler and beat the Tiger goalie for her team-leading 20th goal of the season to give the Raiders a 2-1 halftime lead.

Koehler assisted on the Raiders third goal of the game by Brooke Gottschalk, before Sanocki tallied her second goal of the game, assisted by Haines, to make the final 4-1.

“It's never good to fall behind like we did here,” Knutson said. “It can be trouble sometimes when a team gets hope and momentum from an early goal like that. We came through in the end because the character of these girls is tremendous. There's no way they were going to let New Richmond beat them and we ended as we expected to, with a 4-1 win.”  

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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