An 8-0 victory over seventh-seeded Chippewa Falls is one thing, but for the No. 2 seed Hudson Raiders, following that up with another 8-0 victory over third-seeded Wausau West in the regional title game is downright impressive.
Saturday night’s second straight 8-0 shutout sends Hudson to a sectional semifinal game against top-seeded Eau Claire Memorial this Thursday, Oct. 31, in Eau Claire. And despite the fact the Raiders are 0-1-1 against the Old Abes this season, Hudson coach Steve Sollom thinks this match will be different, especially after the way the Raiders played in the regional round.
“When we play Eau Claire Memorial on Thursday, even though they have a better team than (Wausau) West, they will sit back and defend most of the game,” Sollom noted. “We are finally healthy and have some momentum, so I feel pretty good going into the next game.”
Wausau West’s style of play Saturday night wasn’t to sit back and defend, but instead to push up and try to attack. That left them vulnerable on the back line, and the Raiders took full advantage.
“Put simply, that style works against a lot of high school teams,” Hudson coach Steve Sollom noted. “IIt doesn't work against better teams who don't panic and can move the ball around, which we are. We broke their pressure constantly and got a lot of chances to score. We scored eight but actually didn't convert another eight that we should have.”
Sam Ross ended up with a hat trick to lead the Raider attack while Kolton Prater scored twice and Corey Denning, Noah Bekemeyer and Paul Phillipson had a goal apiece. Sollom said it felt good to be able to be on the attack the entire game.
“It was a nice change from the typical defensive style we see, which is that teams will park seven or eight guys in front of their own end and just try to send one guy deep on a counter attack,” he said.
Chippewa Falls tried that style in the regional semifinal earlier in the week in Hudson and it didn’t work either, as Trevor Nava-Barber scored three goals in the opening 17 minutes to send the Raiders off to the races.
Sophomore goalkeeper Lucas Biederman earned the shutout in Tuesday night’s win over the Cardinals while senior keeper Jared Biederman got the shutout over the Warriors Saturday night-- the Raiders 11th and 12th shutouts of the season.
Hudson will take a record of 17-3-2 into this Thursday’s sectional semifinal matchup at Eau Claire Memorial while the Old Abes are 17-1-3 after beating fourth-seeded Stevens Point in their regional title match. The Raiders and Old Abes played to a 1-1 tie Sept. 17 in Hudson while Memorial took a 3-1 victory Oct. 10 in Eau Claire. The Old Abes are ranked No. 5 in Division 1 in the latest Wisconsin Soccer Coaches Association state rankings while Hudson is No. 10
The winner of Thursday’s match will face either Appleton North (11-3-4) or Green Bay Preble (12-4-5) in the sectional title game Saturday, Nov. 2, in Appleton.