The third place finish by the Somerset boys is the best the Spartans have placed in the Middle Border Conference soccer standings in several seasons.
The Spartans secured third place in the final MBC standings with a 4-0 win at Spooner on Tuesday. This is the highest finish for the Spartans in the MBC since 2013 when Somerset was the conference champion with a 14-1-1 record.
Thursday’s game was a makeup from a recent postponement, but the weather may have been even worse this time around in Spooner. Somerset coach Bill Roll described the field as “a greasy mess.”
Still, the Spartans were able to hold a vast edge in possession of the ball. The problem for the Spartans was their lead passes wouldn’t stop on the wet field and the Rails’ goalkeeper ranged well out of his goal to grab the pass before the Spartans could reach it for a shot.
Somerset’s attack was led by junior Aaron Shartin-Folkert, who scored the hat trick. He got the scoring started in the 21st minute off an assist from Jett Vang, then added another in the first half. He finished the game’s scoring in the 79th minute off an assist from Logan Giossi. Giossi had the Spartans’ third goal, using an assist from Brody Harris to score in the 43rd minute.
This was Somerset’s fourth shutout in a row. The team had set a goal of cleaning up its defensive play for the final weeks of the season and Roll said the team has made much progress in that area.
With this win, the Spartans have not lost in nine games.
That string of games without a loss ended in the Spartans’ regular season finale on Thursday at Hayward. The Hurricanes scored a 2-1 win over the Spartans. Kaine Lee scored off an assist from Shartin-Folkert to put Somerset ahead 1-0 in the 37th minute of the game. Hayward tied the game in the first minute, then scored the go-ahead goal with less than five minutes remaining. Shartin-Folkert suffered an injury early in the second half and Hayward scored both its goals with him on the sideline.
Roll said he expects Shartin-Folkert and senior defender Ben Rybacki back in the lineup next week. Roll wasn’t overly pleased with the Spartans’ play Thursday. He said Cumberland beat Osceola on Thursday and recently tied Hayward.
“We definitely have to be sharper in the playoffs,” Roll said. “Cumberland’s got a competitive squad we can’t overlook.”
Somerset finished the regular season with an 11-5-3 record. The Spartans begin WIAA Division 4 tournament play on Thursday, Oct. 24. The Spartans are the third seed in the regional bracket and they will host sixth-seeded Cumberland in the regional semifinal. The winner of Thursday’s game will play again two days later in the regional final, against the winner of Thursday’s game between Northland Pines (2) and Three Lakes-Phelps (7).