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Soccer crushes UW-Platteville 4-0

The women’s soccer team won their fifth straight game on Saturday with a 4-0 victory over UW-Platteville.

After starting the season 1-2-0, the team has now won five straight games and is 6-2-0 overall. Junior Rachel Nerison led the way with two scores, and freshmen Paige LeGate and Kara Ryan each added a goal of their own.

The Blugolds took the advantage quickly in the game, with Nerison’s first goal coming just over a minute after kickoff. Nerison really thought it helped the team getting an early score.

“By getting on the board early you know you put the other team back on their heels,” Nerison said. “You get the advantage from the get go, and it’s definitely a good way to start the game.”

Ryan now has two goals on the season, LeGate has four, and with the pair of goals, Nerison now has the team lead with five.

Nerison’s five goals so far this season eclipse her total of four from her sophomore year. This came as a surprise to some after her stellar freshmen campaign with 14 goals. She said that although she knew she was dealing with a few injuries, it was hard for her not to get down on herself at times.

Nerison said she thought it was important for her to turn things around this year not just for herself, but also for the team.

“I wasn’t very happy with my season last year and I wanted to redeem myself and do what’s best for the team,” Nerison said. “I wanted to be a leader on the team this year and I think the best way to do that is by going out there and working hard and hopefully getting goals as a result of that.”

LeGate’s goal came at the 7:08 mark on an assist from freshman Allie Stone. Just over 10 minutes later Ryan deflected a shot from Stone into the goal and brought the lead to 3-0. Only a minute later Nerison rounded out the scoring with Eau Claire’s’ fourth goal.

The Blugold’s outshot Platteville 26-2 during the game. Eau Claire’s stingy defense didn’t allow a single shot in the entire first half, and Nerison thinks the defense really deserves most the credit for the recent winning streak by the team.

“We would not have the success we’ve had if it wasn’t for them. You know all of our offense and scoring opportunities have been a result of what they’ve done in the back,” Nerison said. “We definitely can’t discount anything that they’ve done … because they are the heart of our team I think.”

The opportunities have been plentiful, as Blugolds have now scored 11 goals in their last three games after scoring just four times in the first five games.

Sophomore Shyla Gilbertson attributes the recent success to the team staying more relaxed around the goal.

“We’ve been working a lot in practice with staying composed in front of the goal and we’ve just brought that to the games and now were clicking and its really working out,” Gilbertson said.

Eau Claire improved to 2-0 in the WIAC to start the year and will take on UW-Stout on Wednesday. The Blugolds are now in third place in the conference, a half game behind UW-Whitewater and a full game behind rival UW-Stevens Point.

Gilbertson said that the team isn’t getting ahead of themselves, but that it helps to get out to a fast start.

“This shows us that so far we are capable of taking on anyone if we play our hardest,” Gilbertson said. “Now with confidence we can go into the rest of the season knowing that we can beat anyone that we play.”

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