Women’s soccer heats up in Texas

Renee Rosenow

The UW-Eau Claire women’s soccer Head Coach Sean Yengo said the team started its new season on Friday, after an intense week of practice and many hours of driving to Texas.

Yengo said that compared to last year’s training, they had a similar emphasis in fitness. This year the Blugolds had a unique preseason training in which teammates would take turns to cook a meal for the team. He said this enhanced team chemistry.

The Blugolds first faced the Hardin-Simmons University Cowgirls (Texas), and while there was no scoring in the first half, the end result was a 1-1 tie.

“The level of competition was a bit higher compared to last (season’s) teams,” Yengo said.

Junior Sara Aschenbrener said that the team had changed its formation this year.

“As a team, it’s kind of hard to change something you’ve been used to for three years,” Aschenbrener said. “But we made it work and it set us up for a good season.”

The Blugolds had 26 shots, against Hardin-Simmons’ nine. Yengo said that 16 of those 26 were on goal.

The first and only goal for the Blugolds was from senior Amy Smith, minutes after the second half started. The Blugolds maintained the lead until minute 77, when the Cowgirls scored to tie up the game.

Aschenbrener said the team got confident with the lead and didn’t continue to play as hard as when it started.

“We didn’t hold that lead like we should have,” Aschenbrener said.

Senior Allison Rivard echoed that thought.

“I thought we played good as a team,” she said, “but we would have really liked to hold on to that lead.”

On Saturday the team defeated Trinity University (Texas) 3-2. Coach Yengo said the team played “as hard as we could all 90 minutes,” and that there was big momentum when they led 2-1 before halftime.

Into the second half, with only four minutes left on the clock, it was junior Alli Kishaba who secured the Blugolds’ victory. Two minutes later, Trinity scored, but the Blugolds held on to the lead that brought them their first win of the season.

Both Aschenbrener and Rivard said that both Hardin and Trinity were very competitive teams.

“It’s a good start to be against teams that are challenging.” Aschenbrener said. “We challenged them and we earned some respect from the people that doubted we could play them.”

Aschenbrener and Rivard agreed the weather in Texas was very humid and hot. Yengo said they did not take this as an excuse, but rather that they were able to use it to their advantage and it pushed them harder.

Yengo said he is looking forward to this new season and that the team will take it one game at a time.

Aschenbrener agreed, and said the team is focusing on playing one game at a time instead of looking back or too far ahead.

The Blugolds are now 1-0-1 on the season and this Saturday the will face Augsburg College at 1 p.m. at Bollinger Field.

“We are really glad to be back,” Aschenbrener said. “We like to prove ourselves on our turf.”