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Raider booters hit a wall

Trying to play catch-up with the schedule after all the cancellations to start the season may have taken a toll on the Raider girls soccer team last week.

Three days after a weekend trip to Milwaukee the Raiders traveled to Chippewa Falls and played flat in a 0-0 tie. Two nights later they lost to River Falls for the first time since 2013 by a score of 4-1. Then last weekend they fell 4-0 to Kimberly and 5-2 to D.C. Everest at the UW-Eau Claire Spring Classic.

The Raiders' hectic schedule continued this week with a makeup game at River Falls Monday, May 7, and a home match with Eau Claire North Tuesday, May 8. Head coach Steve Sollom admitted the team needs a break.

"We have been playing too many games and it's catching up to us with injuries and fatigue," he said. "We need a break and a chance to have a practice and reorganize, but we won't get one until Wednesday."

After looking listless at Chippewa Falls Tuesday, May 1, the Raiders played a clean game against River Falls Thursday, May 3, at home, but a few bad breaks and a late letdown led to a 4-1 loss to the Wildcats.

"They scored in the first half on a bad clearing attempt by one of our defenders," Sollom said. "We hit the crossbar and had a few chances but we didn't convert and we were down 1-0 at the half. The second half we were pressuring and then they got a free kick for some reason and it was perfectly placed and they knocked it in for a 2-0 lead. We didn't respond well after that goal and had a couple miscues that cost us goals."

Friday the Raiders gave up three goals in the second half in a 4-0 loss to sixth-ranked Kimberly before falling to Stevens Point and arguably the best player in the state Maddie Simpson, 5-2, Saturday.

"We tried to focus on making someone else beat us and not let her dominate the game," Sollom said. "Forty-three seconds into the game she scored on a breakaway. We tied it when Carly Tewinkle hit a beautiful free kick from 25 yards out. But Simpson struck again just a minute later and added a hat trick, all in the first half."

Cam Masini netted a second half goal for the Raiders but it wasn't enough as they slipped to 5-5-1 on the season.

After a chance to practice Wednesday, May 9, the Raiders will visit Superior Thursday, May 10, before returning to action Tuesday, May 15, at Menomonie.

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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