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Boys Soccer: Raiders claim third BRC title in four years

Hudson's Kolton Prater (21) tangles with River Falls' Nikko Zoller (3) while going for a ball in the air in the first half of the Raider's 1-0 loss to the Wildcats Thursday night, Oct. 11, in Hudson. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

A 1-0 loss to River Falls Thursday, Oct. 11, didn't prevent the Raider boys' soccer team from winning its third Big Rivers Conference championship in four years.

The Raiders took care of that with back-to-back shutouts of Eau Claire North and Chippewa Falls earlier in the week, beating the Huskies, 4-0, in a makeup match Monday, Oct. 8, at home and Chippewa Falls, 2-0, Tuesday, Oct. 9 in the road. Hudson finished the season 10-1-1 in BRC play while Eau Claire Memorial was second at 9-1-2.

Seeding for the WIAA playoffs will take place Sunday, Oct. 14, with regionals beginning Tuesday, Oct. 16.

“We're hoping we get a top four seed in the 16 team sectional,” head coach Steve Sollom stated.

After a slow start at home against Eau Claire North last Monday, the Raiders scored three goals in a four minute span in the second half to post a 4-0 win.

Chase McArthur scored ona rebound of a Luke Johnson header to give Hudson a 1-0 halftime lead before Kolton Prater drilled a shot from 20-yards out midway through the second half to make it a 2-0 game.

Two minutes later Paul Phillipson raced down the left side and turned the corner to thread the ball past the Husky goalkeeper, and a minute later Teig O'Kelly headed a cross on a free kick into the far post and just like that it was 4-0.

Sollom said it was nice to see the Raiders put the hammer down against the Huskies.

“We have the ability to be an explosive team and have had several bursts like that,” he said. “I wish I could bottle it up and save it, but I have no idea when it will come.”

Monday's win meant set the Raiders up to clinch the conference title with a win Tuesday at Chippewa Falls. They did just that by scoring two late goals in what Sollom described as monsoon conditions.

“Between the weather and their field conditions, We were 0-0 until the last 10 minutes,” he said. “Although we were never in danger of losing, a tie would be like a loss in terms of conference standings.”

Ryan Moothedan got in on a breakaway to break the tie in the 80th minute, and two minutes later Prater scored an identical goal to his bomb one night earlier to make the final 2-0.

With the conference title wrapped up, Sollom rested many of the Raider starters Thursday night against River Falls and started all seven of the team's seniors on Senior Night. The only goal of the match came when a River Falls corner kick bounced off a Raider defender and into the net five minutes in.

“We really had nothing to play for having won conference and River Falls isn't in our section being Division 2, so we tried to avoid injuries and cards,” Sollom noted. “We spent the last 85 minutes trying to tie the game and we controlled the ball most of the match, but just lacked finishing in the goal scoring part of the field. They (River Falls) played very inspired.”

It was Hudson's first loss to the Wildcats since 2011.

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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