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Booters start with a bang

<i>Bob Burrows photo</i> Wildcat Austin Saari (9) beats an Onalaska defender and the Hilltoppers goalkeeper on his way to an open-net goal to give the Cats a 3-1 lead Aug. 17 at Wildcat Field. River Falls opened the season Aug. 24 with a pair of wins, defeating Onalaska 4-1 and La Crosse Central 2-1.

The Wildcat boys' soccer team kicked off the 2010 season with four straight wins in a pair of tournaments last week.

The Cats opened with a pair of victories at the River Falls Quad Aug. 17, defeating Onalaska 4-1 and La Crosse Central 2-1. Aug. 19, goalkeepers Karl Andersen and Ben Harris combined for a pair of shutouts, 5-0 against Wausau West and 7-0 against Superior, at the Eau Claire North Quad.

"It was a good week, and a good start, going 4-0 with 18 goals for and two against," Wildcat head coach Charles Conley said. "Some things we need to tighten up, but certainly I am pleased with the start and optimistic about our season if we can stay healthy."

The Cats opened Big Rivers Conference play at Eau Claire North Aug. 24 and will travel to Chippewa Falls for a night game Aug. 26. They will compete at the Tartan (Minn.) Quad Aug. 28 before returning home to host Hudson Aug. 31, at 5 p.m.

During the tournaments, Shay Maloney and Zane Heinselman hooked up for a pair of first half goals against Onalaska to give the Wildcats a 2-0 lead. Maloney accounted for both tallies with Heinselman assisting.

The Hilltoppers cut the lead in half just after intermission, but Austin Saari extended the Wildcat lead to 3-1 when he ran down a long punt by the goalkeeper Andersen, beat one Onalaska defender and faked out the Hilltopper goalkeeper before depositing the ball into the open net in the 57th minute.

Heinselman added a penalty kick goal just 10 seconds later after a hard foul by the Onalaska goalkeeper in the box to make the final 4-1.

Heinselman provided the game-winner in a 2-1 victory over La Crosse Central. Sid Young scored the other River Falls goal.

Aug. 19 at Eau Claire North, Saari tallied a hat trick and Heinselman and Young added a goal apiece in a 5-0 win over Wausau West. Andersen earned the shutout in goal.

Seven different Wildcats scored in a 7-0 victory over Superior later Thursday. Young, Maloney, Heinselman, Nolan Hartleben, Marty Walker, Andersen and Saari accounted for the River Falls scoring while Harris earned the shutout victory in net.

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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