Prairie du Chien/River Ridge/Seneca girls soccer team continues to battle

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Hannah Fritsche (2) fights for control of the ball with her River Valley opponent while Makenna Forde (23) looks on. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

Prairie du Chien/River Ridge/Seneca goalkeeper Ava Forde collects the ball against River Valley. (Derick Kelly/Courier Press)

On April 14th, the girls soccer team hosted LaCrosse Central for a home match at Mulrooney Field.  Central proved to be a challenging opponent with many talented players.  Nonetheless, the Hawks got on the scoreboard first, after the Central goalkeeper handled the ball outside her 18 yard box in the 10th minute.  This infraction gave the Hawks a direct kick from the top of the box, which Tessa Czajkowski Higgins took and hit, over a wall of Central players and into the top left corner of the net. 

Central responded in the 21st minute, tying the game with a goal off a nice cross into the box.  After that goal, Central hit its groove and scored five additional goals throughout the remainder of the game, which the Hawks were unable to answer.  The final score was 6-1, with Central prevailing.  Goalkeeper Ava Forde has a busy night with 12 saves.

On Tuesday April 18th, the Hawks’ girls soccer team traveled to Viroqua for a match against Driftless United.  Thanks to the recent snowfall, field conditions were extremely wet and muddy, with pools of standing water on the field making play challenging.  The Hawks rose to the challenge, competing not only for the win, but for the honor of who would finish the game the muddiest.  

The Hawks started out strong, controlling possession and winning most 50/50 balls.  That strong start resulted in the first goal of the night in the 21st minute, with Tessa Czajkowski Higgins advancing the ball up the center and hitting a quick shot from the middle of the 18 yard box.  Shortly afterwards, in the 30th minute, Emilee Snyder made a nice run up the center of the field, receiving a through ball and hitting a solid shot from the top of the 18, making the score 2-0 Hawks.  In the 34th minute, the conditions got the best of the Hawks defense, as they struggled to clear a ball from in front of their goal due to mud, allowing Driftless to score its first goal.  The teams went into halftime with the Hawks up 2-1.  

The second half conditions became even more challenging, as the muddy field conditions only worsened.  Nonetheless, in the 59th minute, Jasmine Olmstead was able to deliver a beautiful cross-field pass to Czajkowski Higgins in the 6 yard box, who hammered the ball in for another Hawks’ goal.  Driftless hit a far shot in the 67th minute, but the Hawks were able to maintain the lead for the remainder of the game, earning the win 3-2. 

The Prairie du Chien/River Ridge/Seneca Girls Soccer Team played Dodgeville/Mineral Point on Monday night, April 25. This game brought many challenges, including cold temperatures, high winds, and many injuries. Notably, there are injuries to both the starting and backup goalie, but senior midfielder Makenna Forde stepped up to do the crucial, yet intimidating, job. The Blackhawk defense was able to limit shots on net from Dodgeville/Mineral Point by cutting off through balls and matching their speed on breakaway runs. As an outside midfielder, Allison Mathies had many runs of her own up and down the sideline, making use of the whole field. This, combined with some well-placed direct kicks from Tessa Czajkowski Higgins, gave the Blackhawks opportunities to score, but none were successful to add to the scoreboard. The game ended with a 0-2 loss, but the Prairie du Chien/River Ridge/Seneca girls are looking forward to a rematch on their home field later in the season.

The Prairie du Chien/River Ridge/ Seneca Girls Soccer team next hosted the River Valley Blackhawks on Thursday, April 27  in a conference match up at John C. Mulrooney Field. River Valley would hold off the host Blackhawks 1-0 in a tough game.

These two teams would not have to wait too long for the rematch as Prairie du Chien/River Ridge/Seneca traveled to River Valley High School on Monday, May 1st with the River Valley Blackhawks coming out on top with a 2-0 victory.

The Hawks girls soccer team responded to that stretch with a very successful weekend, attending the UW-La Crosse High School Girls Soccer Invitational and coming away with a win and a tie.  

On Friday, May 5, the Hawks traveled to Sparta to play their first match against Altoona/Fall Creek at 7:00pm.  With poor weather looming, the Hawks started out strong, connecting many passes on excellent attacking runs.  That success paid off in the 19th minute, with Allison Mathies sending a gorgeous cross into the 18 yard box, which was hammered in by Tessa Czajkowski Higgins to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.  The Hawks defense of Kayli Kruk, Kylie Rogers, Hannah Fritsche, and Hannah Dudgeon held strong against the Altoona/Fall Creek attack, keeping the 1-0 lead into halftime.  The second half began with the Hawks dominating possession.  Unfortunately the game was called early due to lightning in the 57th minute, however the teams had played sufficient minutes for the game to be official with the Hawks coming away with the 1-0 win.  Ava Forde worked hard and earned the clean sheet, making six saves in the match.  

On Saturday, May 6 at 10:00am, the Hawks faced Sparta at the UW LaCrosse pitch.  This game proved to be a very even competition, with both teams playing tenacious soccer in a physical game.  The Hawks got on the scoreboard first when, in the 11th minute, center back Kayli Kruk intercepted a pass, advanced it past midfield, and sent a nice through ball to Tessa Czajkowski Higgins.  Czajkowski Higgins was able to beat the defense, fake out the goalkeeper, and hit the shot to give the Hawks a 1-0 lead.  In the 29th minute, Sparta was awarded a direct kick from just outside the 18 yard box, which they hit evening the score to 1-1.  The score remained 1-1 into halftime.  The second half continued in much the same manner, with each team having chances at goal, but with the defense stopping those attacks.  The Hawks had shots on goal contributed by Allison Mathies and Makenna Forde, however the Sparta goalkeeper was able to make the saves.  Ava Forde was busy in goal for the Hawks with 8 saves in the game.  The match ended in the 80th minute with a tie score, 1-1.  

On Tuesday May 9th, the Hawks girls soccer team headed to Richland Center for a conference match against the Hornets.  The match proved to be very exciting, with back and forth goals and much scoring.  The Hawks were the first to score, when in the 9th minute Makenna Forde executed a fantastic throw-in into the 18 yard box, which Tessa Czajkowski Higgins hammered into the back of the net to take the lead 1-0.  Only minutes later, the Hawks were called for a handball in the box, giving the Hornets a penalty kick, which they scored to tie the score 1-1.  Then, in the 27th minute, the Hawks made an impressive attack that ended in a 1 vs 1 between Czajkowski Higgins and the Hornet’s goalkeeper, which Czajkowski Higgins nailed into the bottom corner to give the Hawks a 2-1 lead going into halftime.  

The Hornets came out strong in the second half, scoring again in the 43rd minute to even the score.  The Hawks dug deep to regain the lead in the 51st minute, with the team again connecting on a series of nice passes to set up Czajkowski Higgins for another shot on goal, which she hit for a hat trick and to give the Hawks the 3-2 lead.  The Hawks defense of Hannah Fritsche, Kayli Kruk, Kylie Rogers, and Hannah Dudgeon did a masterful job of defending for the remainder of the game, thus securing the win.  Ava Forde had another solid night in goal, nabbing 8 saves.  

As the end of the school year is approaching, so is the end of the spring sports season. The Prairie du Chien/River Ridge/Seneca Girls Soccer team faced Dodgeville on Thursday night in what was a run of their final four regular season games.  The game was the second time this season that the two teams met and was a complete 180 as far as weather conditions were concerned.  Both teams faced the additional factor of heat as they battled for the win.

The Blackhawks were the first on the scoreboard with a goal by Tessa Czajkowski Higgins in the first half.  The sophomore midfielder was able to maneuver around three different Dodgeville defenders at the 20-yard line to get herself a view of the goal where she was able to slide a shot low and to the left corner of the net before the goalie had any time to react. The Blackhawks maintained possession of the ball for the rest of the first half and had many chances in the second half to increase their lead.  This included 17 direct kicks and 2 corner kicks. These all nearly resulted in goals, including a corner kick from Emilee Snyder to the foot of Addison Kirschbaum that hit and bounced off the left pole of the goal.

Dodgeville had a little bit more luck as they were able to get two separate opportunities for a crossed ball to bounce past several defenders, to their players’ feet, and finally into the back of the net. These were truly unfortunate goals, as goalkeeper Ava Forde dominated the entire 18-yard box for 80 minutes.  Whether they were balls in the air or through balls that the keeper had to win in a footrace, Forde maintained control of her goal box. The Hawks record now stands at 6-6-2 for the season.

Though disappointment came with the final score being a 1-2 loss for the Blackhawks, the Prairie du Chien/River Ridge/Seneca girls are fired up for their next game.  They play again on Tuesday, May 16 at home against Platteville/Lancaster.

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