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Soccer: Wildcats one win away from state

River Falls' Ella Durocher (8) redirects a cross from Gina Filkins between two New Richmond defenders and into the net for the only goal of the game in the Wildcat's 1-0 win over the Tigers in a WIAA Division 2 sectional semifinal Thursday, June 7, in River Falls. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia

After outscoring its opponents 18-0 in its first two playoff games, the top-seeded River Falls' girls' soccer team had to work a lot harder to get past No. 3 New Richmond in a WIAA sectional semifinal Thursday, June 7, at Wildcat Field.

Sophomore Ella Durocher got between two New Richmond defenders in the 38th minute to redirect a cross from senior captain Gina Filkins for the only goal of the game to give the Cats a berth in the sectional final against Pulaski this Saturday, June 9, in Marshfield.

Since losing back-to-back games to Eau Claire Memorial May 14-15, the Wildcats have reeled off seven straight wins and six straight shutouts, including a 10-0 victory over Menomonie and an 8-0 win over Tomah in their two regional playoff games.

Head coach Charles Conley said New Richmond provided a good test tor the Cats heading into Saturday's sectional title game.

“We played really well the last six games but they've all been easy for us,” he said. “Regardless of who you're going to play, when you're season's on the line at this point you have to work for everything. It lets the girls know that we're good, but we still have to play our best to continue to move on. Teams like this are going to come after us. They want to get to state just as badly as we do.”

The Wildcats are seeking to return to the WIAA State Tournament since their only previous appearance in 2011, while Pulaski is the defending sectional champion and has played in the last three sectional title games, including a 4-3 victory over River Falls in 2016.

The winner of Saturday's game will advance to the WIAA State Tournament June 14-16 at Uihlein Soccer Park in Milwaukee.

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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