Eau Claire soccer solid in early victory

Renee Rosenow

The UW-Eau Claire women’s soccer team’s hard work last weekend paid off with a decisive victory after a slow start.

“That tough competition gets you ready for the tough, physical games like the one we had today,” coach Sean Yengo said. The team had two games the previous weekend against ranked opponents.

After a strenuous first 30 minutes, the Blugolds ultimately demonstrated their superiority against Augsburg College (Minn.), and ended up with a 3-0 victory.

The Blugolds had two great shots in the first 15 minutes, but were unable to get the ball past the Auggies goalkeeper, who was forced to make spectacular saves both times. The team had another good scoring chance off a corner kick in the 23rd minute, but a header went sailing past the post.

Finally, the Blugolds were able to get on the scoreboard in the 37th minute with a brilliant shot from senior midfielder Jessica Millard. With open space in front of her from 25 yards out, Millard ripped a shot to the far corner for a stunning goal.

“It was a beautiful goal,” Yengo said. “It was huge too because it took pressure off our team going into the half.”

Entering the half with a 1-0 lead, Yengo wasn’t entirely satisfied with the way his team performed. Coming out of the half, it was obvious the coach had stressed communication in the back.

Senior goalkeeper Allie Rivard and senior defender Allison Smith both said they worked together much better and communicate at a higher quality in the second half.

“Since we lost two of our four defenders from last year, it’s important for Ali (Smith) and I to keep communicating and make sure we stay organized,” Rivard said.

Smith agreed the two were able to talk more, and the team was able to benefit from it.

“It just helps that whenever she doesn’t say something, I do. And whenever I don’t say something, she does,” Smith added. “It helps us work really well together.”

In the 57th minute the Blugolds were able to add to their lead. A shot by senior Allison Muer was deflected by an Auggies defender and ended up in the back of the net, increasing the lead to two. In the 78th minute they were also able to add to their lead. Freshman Rachel Nerison was able to tap in a rebound, and secure the game for the Blugolds, who are now 2-0-1 on the season.

Rivard was very happy with the way the team played, and with the way she played, earning her first shut-out of the season. “It felt really good, especially after the weekend, and giving up three goals,” Rivard said. “It was awesome.”