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Raider girls earn share of Big Rivers soccer title, have home playoff game Thursday

Junior Maggie Koehler reaches out to senior teammate Alexa Haines after Haines sent a perfect cross in to Koehler for Hudson’s second goal of the game in the first half of the Raiders’ 3-1 victory over River Falls last Tuesday in River Falls. The Raiders went on to defeat Eau Claire North, 6-0, Thursday to clinch a share of their first Big Rivers Conference title since 2002. (Hudson Star-Observer photos by Bob Burrows)1 / 3
Hudson senior co-captain Alexa Haines beats a River Falls defender just inside the penalty box before getting off a shot on goal in the first half of the Raiders’ 3-1 victory over the Wildcats last Tuesday in River Falls. Haines had a hand in all three Raiders goals.2 / 3
Hudson junior Brooke Gottschalk looks to distribute the ball from her midfield position in the first half of the Raiders’ 3-1 victory over River Falls last Thursday.3 / 3

The Raider girls soccer team clinched a share of its first Big Rivers Conference title in emphatic fashion last week by posting a pair of road victories – 3-1 Tuesday over River Falls and 6-0 Thursday at Eau Claire North.

The Raiders ended the regular season with a conference mark of 11-1, tied with Eau Claire Memorial for the BRC championship. Hudson’s last conference title came in 2002 when it also shared the honor with the Old Abes.

The Raiders, 17-2-1 overall, were handed the No. 4 seed in the eight-team WIAA Division 1 bracket and will open regional play this Thursday at 5 p.m. against No. 5 Wausau West at the middle school field. The winner will face either top-seeded D.C. Everest or No. 8 Superior in the regional final Saturday, June 7, at the home of the higher seed.

Last Tuesday at River Falls, senior co-captain Alexa Haines scored one goal and assisted on two others by Maggie Koehler to lead the Raiders to a 3-1 victory.

Haines beat the Wildcat goalie one-on-one to give Hudson an early 1-0 lead, then made a sliding cross just before the end line to Koehler, who sent a shot from up close into the back of the net for a 2-0 Raider lead.

The pair hooked up again in the second half for Koehler’s second goal of the game to make the final 3-1.

“This could have easily been a trap game for us,” head coach John Knutson said. “Being tied with Eau Claire Memorial for the conference lead, our girls have been very confident. Sometimes at practice and before games that translates into being a little too casual for my tastes. Just because we've beaten River Falls earlier in the year didn't mean this win would be easy.”

Thursday at Eau Claire North, Kate Sanocki had two goals and two assists and Koehler had two goals and one assist while Emily Briske recorded the shutout in a 6-0 Raider victory.

Koehler started the scoring in the 12th minute with an assist from Sanocki before Haines scored her team-leading 22nd goal of the season off another Sanocki assist. Emily Ryder scored an unassisted goal in the 25th minute to give the Raiders a 3-0 halftime lead.

Hudson picked right up where it left off in the second half with Sanocki scoring two quick goals off assists from Koehler and senior co-captain Lauren Berglund. Koehler made the final 6-0 with her 16th goal of the season, assisted by Ashley Hall, with less than four minutes remaining.

The Raiders outshot the Huskies, 13-4.

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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