Hudson boys' soccer coach Steve Sollom called Thursday night’s WIAA Division 1 sectional semifinal with Eau Claire Memorial “a typical rivalry game.”
It was the third meeting between the Big Rivers Conference foes this season. The first meeting was a 4-4 tie in Eau Claire while Hudson took a 2-0 decision in the second go-round. This time it was win or go home, and the Raiders advanced to the sectional final for the second straight season.
“The game was very defensive with a lot of cleared balls and teams playing ping pong more or less and trying to force the other team into a mistake,” Sollom said.
The Raiders scored the lone goal in the first half when Noah Bekemeyer got onto a long ball from Connor Sparling and nudged it past the oncoming Memorial goalkeeper.
Sollom said the Raiders spent the rest of the game trying to hold onto the lead.
“We really didn't have any chances the second half, and they had a couple,” he said. “So I felt like it was just a matter of time until they connected. We made some silly mistakes that could have cost us and got away with them, so hopefully we learn from that going into the section final.”
The Old Abes had one shot hit the post and another stopped on a great save by Raider keeper Lucas Biederman before time ran out.
“We managed to hold the lone goal lead and ride out the end of the game, but it was not the prettiest game or the best we've played this year,” Sollom said. “Hopefully we've saved our best for our next game.”
That next game will come Saturday at 1 p.m. in Marshfield against Appleton North with a berth at state on the line. Appleton North defeated Stevens Point 3-1 to advance.