Sectional final here Saturday
Medford, though, rides plenty of momentum and confidence into the semifinal matchup and has every reason to believe it can win.
“The first time we played them, we were unlucky in the last minute of the game,” Rudolph said. “Our boys are ready to come back and take it to them.”
The winner advances to Saturday’s WIAA Division 2 sectional final, which will be played on Medford’s Raider Field at 4 p.m. The other sectional semifinal today has top-seeded Rice Lake hosting that half-sectional’s three-seed, Unity-St. Croix Falls.
Rice Lake has been an annual power in what is normally a Division 3 sectional for this area, earning four state berths since 2014. The Warriors went 4-3-1 in the primarily Division 1 Big Rivers Conference and are 6-3-1 overall. They knocked out fifth-seeded Amery 3-0 in their regional final Saturday.
They aren’t a particularly highscoring team. Jake Englebritson leads them in scoring with seven goals and six assists, while Griffin Van Gilder and Edger Sanchez have five goals each. But they don’t give up much either, having allowed just 1.5 goals per game. Two of their three losses were to Hudson, both 3-0. They went 0-1-1 against River Falls (2-2 and 4-2).
Unity-St. Croix Falls is 9-3 and knocked second-seeded Somerset 2-0 in their regional final Saturday. They went 7-3 in the Heart O’ North Conference and finished second behind 9-0 Barron, who they lost to by scores of 4-1 and 2-1.
Rice Lake figures to easily be the best team Unity-St. Croix Falls has faced this season.