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FEATURED STORY
Hodag Soccer falls 3-1 to Pulaski in sectionals
By Cassie Krueger - Posted on 06/10/2016
Photo By HodagSports.com Staff
The Rhinelander High School girls' soccer team closed their 2016 season after dropping 3-1 to Pulaski on the road in the WIAA sectional semifinal match on Thursday night. It would end the Hodags run in hopes of their third straight state tournament appearance.

Rhinelander started out strong and charted the first goal of the night, but their defense couldn't slow down the Red Raider's offense, as they scored three straight goals to earn the 3-1 victory.

Pulaski didn't waste any time and recorded their first corner kick in the first 40 seconds of the match. And would add two more corners in the next 10 minutes, which the Raiders had several good looks at the net.

Senior captain Claire Hjelle then took advantage of an open shot 30 yards deep, but she had too much power behind it, and sent the ball sailing over the top of the cross bar.

And although the Raiders controlled a majority of the match, the Hodags had their opportunities and cashed in on their first shot on goal of the night with junior leading scorer Sydney Zettler. In the 30th minute off a corner from Hjelle, Zettler battled for a loose ball in the 8-yard box and put one away. Rhinelander would take an early 1-0 lead, but their spark from Zettler wouldn't last long.

Five minutes after the Hodag's first and goal of the match, Chloe Pallex of Pulaski answered and evened the score out. The Raiders' Haley Vandenhouten found Pallex on a run, and was able to get through the middle of Rhinelander's defense and connected on a shot to the bottom left corner passed senior captain and keeper, Brianna DeNamur.

With the Hodags struggling with possessing the ball, and not stringing together series of passes due to bad first touches, Pulaski didn't let the pressure up.

In the 39th minute of action DeNamur had one of her most notable saves of the night, with a diving save to prevent any further damage. And senior defender Kylie Preul was able to clear the ball to end the threat. DeNamur also had another impressive save in the second half as she denied Pulaski off a corner kick.

Nearing the end of the first half, Brooke Schauer would record one of her two goals of the night to give Pulaski a 2-1 lead at halftime. In the 40th minute Skylar Prentice found Schauer who battle for a one-on-one break against Preul. Both got tripped up, but Schauer was able beat Preul to the punch and gave the Raiders a one-goal lead.

In the 51st minute, Hodag sophomore Alayna Franson had a nice crossed ball to Zettler. But on the shot Zettler missed right of the post.

Then Anna Sturzl had a chance at a goal in the 83rd minute with a breakaway opportunity, her shot was on frame but was right at keeper Lauren Wanta.

And just over a minute after Sturzls' final Hodag shot, Schauer added an insurance goal for Pulaski after heading in a free kick from Pallex. The Raiders would hold on to win 3-1 and advance to the sectional final match.

It was a much different outcome compared to the teams' first match against each other in the middle of April. The second time around the Raiders once again controlled the tempo and outshot the Hodags 32-5 overall, and held a 15-2 advantage on shots on goal.

In a quality and busy night in the net, keeper DeNamur took the loss and finished the night with 12 saves in the match.

For the 2016 season, the RHS girls' soccer team still had an impressive season and finished 19-4-1 overall and marked yet another successful season. The Hodags will lose seven seniors on their varsity roster to graduation which includes; DeNamur, Preul, Hjelle, Grace Hoger, Hallie Wright, Marie Sandstrom, and Sierra Scarcelli.

It was an impressive accomplishment in which some of the seniors were part of four straight Great Northern Conference titles, four regional championships, and two trips to the WIAA state tournament. Rhinelander will use this hard-fought loss to learn and move on as they set their goals high for the 2017 season.
Hodag Soccer: Regional Champions
By Cassie Krueger - Posted on 06/06/2016
Photo By HodagSports.com Staff
The Rhinelander High School girls' soccer team claimed their fourth straight WIAA Division 2 regional championship on Saturday. The Hodags defeated Marshfield 3-1 in the regional finals at Mike Webster Stadium. Sydney Zettler, Alayna Franson, and Anna Sturzl all charted goals in the victory.

Rhinelander struck early to set the tempo of the match, when Grace Hoger found Franson on a run up the right sideline. Franson crossed back to the middle and connected on a shot 15 yards back on a mid-range shot to the right of junior keeper Andrea Carolfi of the Tigers in the sixth minute.

The Hodags had several other looks at the net in the first half, but would only going into halftime with a one goal lead. Senior Claire Hjelle nearly scored in the 37th minute on a deep shot nearly 28 yards back. With light rain and slick field conditions, the ball was bobbled by Carolfi and rolled back near the bottom left corner, but was secured just in time.

Stuzl also nearly scored in the final five minutes of the half, but missed wide to left. And with just over four minutes left the clock, the Hodags had a scare when Great Northern Conference leading scorer, Zettler was down after a hard collision with keeper Carolfi. It appeared to be a right foot injury after Zettler's foot slammed into Carolfi's shin guard. Zettler sat out the rest of the first, but was back to start the second.

But Zettler's injury scare didn't seem to affect her play at all, as she scored within the first eight minutes of the second half. Franson brought the ball up the right sideline and crossed an early ball to Zettler who made a run and put another Hodag goal in the net in the 53rd minute.

Despite a 2-0 advantage, Marshfield was determined not to back down that easy and put pressure on Rhinelander's defense midway through the final 45 minutes. The Tigers put their only goal away in the 59th minute when Maddie Haessly found senior captain Julia Urban on a run past the Hodag's defense, and got one past senior keeper Brianna DeNamur. 

Rhinelander then buckled down and would not have another lapse in their defense, and held possession long enough to chart another goal, and give them a two-goal cushion. In the 63rd minute Sturzl had a nice through ball to Zettler, who was tripped up in the 18-yard box by a Marshfield defender, but no call was made on the play. Shortly after Sturzl had a rebound that she missed after drilling the top of the crossbar.

DeNamur, who was virtually unchallenged in the Merrill match, had several notable saves throughout the contest. In the 70th minute, DeNamur pushed out and made a great stop just outside the 18-yard box and cleared the ball beating a Tiger attacker. And with just five minutes remaining DeNamur made another impressive stop by pushing up and attacking when Olivia Haessly got by Rhinelander's defense. In the match DeNamur finished with nine saves in the win.

RHS would tack on an extra goal with just over 13 minutes remaining in the game, when senior Claire Hjelled found Sturzl on a run. Carolfi pushed out to defend, but Sturzl beat her to the punch and connected to the bottom left corner for the Hodag's final goal of the night. Rhinelander held on to earn the win and title of regional champion.

In the match Rhinelander edged Marshfield 18-12 on total shots. RHS held a 13-11 advantage on shots on goal. It was physical match despite only 12 total fouls called throughout. RHS advanced to 19-3-1 on the season. 

The Hodags will get a few days of practice before they are on the road to face Pulaski in the sectional semifinal match on Thursday. The two teams faced in the middle of April for a non-conference match, which resulted in a 0-0 draw. Kickoff will be at 7:00PM at Pulaski Community Middle School.

MORE STORIES
Schedule
04/07
7:00PM
Northland Pines
04/08
5:00PM
Invitational @ DC Everest Middle School (Cancelled)
04/09
10:00AM
Invitational @ DC Everest Middle School (Cancelled)
04/12
7:00PM
Newman CatholicW 8-0
04/14
7:00PM
MosineeW 3-0
04/18
5:00PM
PulaskiT 0-0
04/19
5:00PM
AntigoW 8-0
04/21
5:00PM
Away vs. AshlandW 2-0
04/26
7:00PM
Away vs. LakelandW 2-1
04/28
7:00PM
Medford AreaW 10-0
05/03
5:00PM
Away vs. Northland Pines W 2-1
05/05
5:00PM
Away vs. Newman CatholicW 8-0
05/07
9:00AM
Away vs. Regis/McDonell CentralW 1-0
05/07
3:00PM
Away vs. River FallsL 2-1
05/10
5:00PM
Away vs. MosineeW 1-0
05/12
5:00PM
Away vs. AntigoW 10-0
05/13
TBD
Tournament @ Hansen Lake Soccer Field vs Marshfield W 5-2
05/14
TBD
Tournament @ Hansen Lake Soccer Field
05/20
7:00PM
LakelandW 5-0
05/21
7:00PM
Away vs. Wausau EastW 6-1
05/24
5:00PM
Ashland @ Rhinelander High School Mike Webster Stadium - Senior Night L 2-1
05/26
5:00PM
Away vs. Medford Area L 10-0
05/27
5:00PM
Northland PinesW 4-1
06/02
Regionals vs MerrillW 4-0
06/04
RegionalsW 3-1 vs Marshfield
06/09
Sectionals
06/11
Sectionals
06/16
State
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