Women nab first conference title

After sophomore Jana Huebner’s first goal of the season and first goal of the Blugolds’ last regular-season home game, the game was over before it started.

The UW-Eau Claire women’s soccer team finished its last regular-season home game on a familiar note. Playing UW-Superior, it won the game 4-0, leaving it undefeated at home (8-0) as well as giving the Blugolds their 11th shutout for the season.

It feels amazing to be the first team in Eau Claire women’s soccer history to win a conference titleMaria Iaizzo

But this was no ordinary game. This was the game that determined the conference championship title.

The Blugolds are only the fourth WIAC team – besides UW-La Crosse, UW-River Falls and UW-Stevens Point – ever to capture the conference title.

“It is a great accomplishment, but we still have to prove to everyone that we rightfully earned this by winning the conference tournament,” senior Maria Iaizzo said.

This was the Eau Claire women’s soccer team’s first conference title in the history of the program.

“It feels amazing to be the first team in Eau Claire women’s soccer history to win a conference title,” Iaizzo said.

The team attributes its success this season to team chemistry, freshman Allison Muer said.

“We are honestly like a family,” she said. “We have so much fun together, and we trust each other. I think that’s the number one reason we have been as successful as we have.”

After the team’s conference title accomplishment, it went off Sunday to Duluth, Minn. to play the College of St. Scholastica (Minn.), losing the game 0-2. The team had played UW-Stout the day before the UW-Superior game as well.

“(The St. Scholastica game) was kind of a reality check, and it let us know that we have to always work our hardest,” junior Becky Westbrock said. “And that we have to work for each and every win.”

The Blugolds were unable to get any of their 22 shots past St. Scholastica’s goalkeeper. The team out shot them 22-7 during the game. This game put the Blugolds to a record of 12-2-4 overall, leaving their conference record at 6-0-2.

The team plays its last regular season game at 2 p.m. Saturday at Hamline University (Minn.).

“The Hamline game will serve to keep us in game mode, since we have almost two weeks without otherwise,” Iaizzo said.

The team plans to practice longer and harder at Bollinger because it will be hosting the WIAC Tournament Nov. 4 and 5.

“The next few weeks of practice we will work on perfecting our individual skills as well as team skills,” Westbrock said.

Because the team achieved the conference title, it gets a first round bye and home field advantage.

“We will be playing at Bollinger, where we are undefeated, so we’d like to maintain that status,” Muer said.

The Blugolds hope to make themselves better through practicing and keeping their focus on playing their game, Westbrock said.

“All in all we are very happy with our performance to this point,” she said. “But we expect a lot of ourselves to go even farther with our season.”