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Soccer: Booters get peek at sectional foes

Wildcat forward Josh Klechefski (11) tangles with the Onalaska goalkeeper outside the penalty box in the second half of the Cat's 3-0 victory over the Hilltoppers Saturday, Oct. 6, at Wildcat Field. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 1 / 2
River Falls' Karl Linton (23) beats an Onalaska player to the ball in the second half of the Cat's 3-0 victory over the Hilltoppers Saturday, Oct. 6, at Wildcat Field. Bob Burrows / RiverTown Multimedia 2 / 2

There's a good chance the Wildcat boys' soccer team will see Holmen again in the postseason. And judging by the way the Cats played the undefeated Vikings Saturday, Oct. 6, they'll be ready for a little revenge.

Holmen went into the match with a record of 10-0-1 overall and on top of the Mississippi Valley Conference standings while the Wildcats were 7-6-2 and in fifth place in the Division 1-dominated Big Rivers Conference. Holmen scored the only goal of the match on a header in the second half to remain unbeaten, while the Wildcats walked away looking for a rematch.

"Could have gone either way," River Falls coach Marcos Rodriguez said. "We had a slow first half then second half we pressed and had a strong half but just couldn't finish. It was a hard fought game, and they were a solid team, and I think this is a team we will play again in regions or sections and it will be a very exciting game the next time around."

The match was the first of two on the day for the Wildcats, who shut out Onalaska-- another possible sectional opponent-- later that afternoon on goals by Connor Weinzirl, Gage Espenat and Steve Klechefski.

"It was a great showing by the offense, finding our pass and opening up gaps," Rodriguez said. "Overall great way to end the day."

Earlier in the week Taylor Uetz set up Devlin Laidlaw for one goal and Weinzirl for another and Ben Matheson stopped every shot he faced as the Wildcats posted a 2-0 BRC victory over Chippewa Falls Tuesday night, Oct. 2, in Chippewa Falls.

Both Wildcat goals came within four minutes of each other in the first half, with Laidlaw scoring 15 minutes in and Weinzirl scoring four minutes later.

The victory moved the Wildcats to 4-5-1 in BRC play, 8-7-2 overall, heading into the final week of the regular season. River Falls hosted Eau Claire North Tuesday, Oct. 9, before visiting Hudson Thursday, Oct. 11, for a 7 p.m. kickoff.

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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