The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

The official student newspaper of University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire since 1923.

The Spectator

    Club soccer ready for challenge

    File photo

    Club soccer will be facing its biggest rival on Saturday when it is scheduled to play the University of Minnesota at Bollinger Field.

    “This is our biggest game all season,” junior Tim Schoonenberg said. “We need to win this game.”

    This rivalry has developed heavily over the past two seasons. Two years ago, Eau Claire won 2-0 at Bollinger.

    “Minnesota was shocked and disgusted by that loss,” Schoonenberg said.

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    Last season, the team played three games. The first was a regular season conference match in which Minnesota won 3-1.

    In regionals, Minnesota won 2-1 at Blaine, Minn.

    “That was basically a home game for them,” junior David Webb said.

    In that game Eau Claire scored all three goals, including an own goal scored by mistake.

    At nationals, Minnesota won 1-0 with the goalie saving a breakaway.

    “They’ve been competitive games,” Webb said. “We’re expecting a knockdown, drag-out fight.”

    Minnesota has been playing well this year also. The team has not lost this season in conference play and is 4-1 in Div. III play.

    “They’ve been dominating,” Webb said.

    Despite that, Eau Claire is confident about its chances.

    “We’re excited,” Webb said. “We know we can beat them.”

    The veteran players are ready for this game.

    “All eyes are on Minnesota for the veteran players,” Schoonenberg said.

    They’re working on getting the younger players into the rivalry.

    “We don’t want to stre ss it too much though,” Schoonenberg said. “Less pressure might be a good thing.”

    The team is pleased with how the younger players have been doing.

    “They’re stepping up,” Webb said. “It’s a big transition from high school to Division III play. They’ve been playing hard (to make that transition).”

    The team hopes a large crowd will help it get even further into the game.

    “The crowd factors in quite a lot,” Webb said. “We feed off the crowd’s energy.”

    There will be pressure to perform well in front of the crowd.

    “We want to put on a good show,” Webb said.

    The team has been working on the possession game in practice this week.

    “It’s hard to get the ball back from them,” Webb said. “The more times we give them the ball, the less our chances (of winning).”

    The players also have been working on scaling back their shots.

    “We need to work for better opportunities,” Webb said.

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    Club soccer ready for challenge