Women’s soccer axes Stout

Blugolds win 1-0 to secure the first inaugural Paul Bunyan Ax

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Women’s soccer axes Stout

Photo by Jake Steen

Photo by Jake Steen

Photo by Jake Steen

Story by Jake Steen, Staff Writer

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A win over a conference opponent is always a big deal. But when there’s a trophy involved, it means that much more.

Kicking off a new tradition, the UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout women’s soccer teams played the first annual “Battle of the Blues,” where the winning team earns a trophy in the form of  Paul Bunyan’s Ax. The ax is then displayed on campus the following year for the conquering team to show off.

The Blugolds became the first in the rivalry to hoist Paul Bunyan’s Ax on Wednesday, earning a narrow 1-0 victory over the Blue Devils at Bollinger Field for their final home game of the season.

Junior Caroline Henderson scored the lone goal of the game in the 34th minute with the assist from senior Teighlor Tvedt. The score would hold through the entire second half despite some good looks from Stout. Henderson said she was excited to be on the winning side of the rivalry.

“It feels great to be the first to win the ax,” she said. “They got us last year and it was another nail-biter, but I’m glad we got them this time.”

In what might have been her final game at Bollinger Field as a Blugold, Tvedt was glad she could be a part of this new tradition before she leaves.

“Definitely feels good to be the first; I feel like it’s legendary now,” Tvedt said. “We went down in history.”

Head coach Sean Yengo said adding the trophy was something the coaches decided on in the offseason to put a little spice into the game.

“It’s nice to have something to play for instead of just a win or a loss,” Yengo said. “We love it.”

Earning their fourth conference win, the Blugolds have a chance to secure third place in the conference with just one game remaining in their regular season schedule.

UW-Stout outshot the Blugolds 16-12 including 11-4 in the second half.

“We were never able to settle down and had some uncharacteristic turnovers,” Yengo said. “It’s something we definitely have to clean up as we head into the conference tourney.”

Nevertheless, the Blugolds have won back-to-back games, something they haven’t done since early September. At 6-9-2 overall and 4-3 in the WIAC, the team prepares to head to UW-River Falls to take on the Falcons Saturday for its final game before the conference tournament.  

“If we can win at River Falls, we’ll be third in conference,” Tvedt said. “It’s definitely the right time to get the momentum rolling.”

Tvedt said she is excited about the potential to play one more time at Bollinger Field.

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