Soccer team routs Pioneers to advance

Janie Boschma

Thanks to the Blugold soccer team, the Pioneers won’t be blazing any postseason trails this November.

Instead, UW-Platteville will head home early following a 3-0 shutout Tuesday in the first round of the WIAC tournament, courtesy of conference champion and top-seed UW-Eau Claire.

“Overall, I think we’re pretty satisfied with our performance,” senior Anna Talbot said. “We were just unlucky finding the back of the net sometimes, but I think we played well.”

The Blugolds came out strong in the first minute of play, with sophomore Sam Krueger putting Eau Claire on the scoreboard just 18 seconds into the game. Freshman Haelee Maurer scored Eau Claire’s second goal about 21 minutes later to give the Blugolds a 2-0 halftime lead.

Eau Claire remained scoreless for nearly 67 minutes following Maurer’s goal, however, and it wasn’t until the 88:09 mark that Krueger scored her second goal of the day to put the Blugolds up 3-0.

“I thought we had great ball movement,” coach Sean Yengo said. “We fought for every ball, we were very aggressive. We did so many things well.”

Eau Claire controlled almost every aspect of the game, putting up 29 shots against the Pioneers while allowing Platteville to attempt only three. Eau Claire earned 10 corner kicks compared to Platteville’s one.

Krueger’s goal in the first minute of play also put Eau Claire into the NCAA record books; her 18-second score ranks No. 18 for fastest goal scored in a Div. III game.

Eau Claire will host UW-La Crosse at 11 a.m. Friday at Bollinger Fields in the semifinal round of the WIAC tournament. La Crosse, the fourth-seeded team in this year’s bracket, lost to the Blugolds previously this year in a 4-0 shutout on Sept. 22.

If the Blugolds win Friday’s match at Bollinger, they will host the winner of the game between UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater, which will be the same day as the Eau Claire-La Crosse match-up.

Eau Claire defeated both teams earlier this season, routing Whitewater 4-0 on Sept. 29 and edging Stevens Point 4-3 in an overtime game on Oct. 6.

Talbot said Wednesday that the team isn’t overlooking its next opponent and she expects La Crosse to have improved since the last time the two teams met.

“I think we’re just going to try and play an up-tempo style of play,” she said. “I’m sure that they’ve improved since then, but I’m also sure that we’ve improved since then.”