A Cinderella start to the season came to a jarring halt Thursday and fared little better Tuesday as Rice Lake girls soccer sustained its first loss and tie of the spring.
The Warriors are 5-1-1 overall and 1-1-1 in the Big Rivers Conference after falling to River Falls 7-1 Thursday and tying Eau Claire North Tuesday 2-2.
In Tuesday’s match against the Huskies, Rice Lake went down by one goal early in the first half after North capitalized on corner kick. The Warriors were down 1-0 at halftime, which soon became 2-0 as North again scored early in the second half.
With 20 minutes remaining, Rice Lake organized itself to form several offensive drives. Sophomore Hailey Berger put the Warriors on the board with a flying volley finish off an Ella Weber corner kick.
With 3 minutes remaining, Rice Lake earned a direct free kick 20 yards out from the Husky goal. Weber’s shot hit the underside of the crossbar and bounced straight down on the inside of the goal line to even it up. Sophomore midfielder Lina Morillo was there for the clean-up just in case.
Junior goalkeeper for the Warriors, Mac Olsen had five saves.
A Rice Lake comeback was not in the cards against River Falls Thursday.
“We sustained a serious injury and River Falls capitalized on our misfortune,” said head coach Nick Merkt. “We created multiple chances and the score doesn’t reflect our ability or how the match went. We didn’t give up, we lost but didn’t get beat. We will bounce back.”
The serious injury occurred early in the first half as a notoriously physical River Falls team applied defensive pressure.
Freshman forward Clara Stinson injured her knee and is out for an undetermined amount of time.
Sophomore defender Ellie Antonson also came out early in the first half with a bruised hip, which allowed River Falls to chink away at the Warrior defensive line.
A penalty kick opened up the scoring and with 5 minutes remaining in the first half, River Falls closed two more scoring chances.
Down 3-0 at the start of the second half, the Warriors defense struggled to organize itself. The Wildcats put four more goals away, but not before Rice Lake’s Ella Weber capitalized on a penalty kick.
Olsen had 15 saves on the night.
The Warriors continue on the road Thursday at Hudson followed by a home game Tuesday vs. Menomonie at 7 p.m.