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

    Women’s soccer scores its way to semifinals

    Anna Nelson

    The Eau Claire women’s soccer team took the first step towards the WIAC championship on Tuesday, beating UW-Stout 4-1 at Bollinger Field in the conference quarterfinals.

    The win gives Eau Claire a record of 10-4-3 for the season, and allows the Blugolds to advance to the WIAC semifinals for the 10th consecutive year.

    As has been the case for much of the season, the defense was big for Eau Claire, holding the Blue Devils to just three shots on goal. Freshman goalie Megan Brady, who was the WIAC defensive player of the week for Oct. 15-21, made two saves, including a diving stop on a breakaway early in the second half when Eau Clarie held a 2-0 lead.

    Though the Blugolds’ strong defensive play was similar to their performance against Stout earlier in the year, a game that Eau Claire won 4-0, the Blugolds did have to approach the game with a different offensive attitude.

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    “It was a different game,” coach Sean Yengo said. “They were committed to not allowing us to get the through ball. We had to change our mentality and play the ball to the feet instead of to an area.”

    Stout’s different attitude to the game didn’t seem to slow Eau Claire too much. The Blugolds got 18 shots on goal, down from their season average of 23 a game, but Eau Claire was still able to get some open looks at the net in the second half.

    The first of these came at the 51 minute, 12 second mark of the second half.

    Senior Erika Thompson brought the ball down the right side, then found freshman Kris Unterweger in the center of the field. Unterweger fired it past Stout senior goalie Jessie Sutherland for her 10th goal of the season, giving Eau Claire a 2-0 lead.

    Eau Claire got two goals off of free kicks. The first came at the 39:09 mark of the first half, as freshman Megan Oswall scored her 10th goal of the season on an assist from sophomore Sara Bahlmann.

    “I sent it to the far post,” Bahlmann said. “Megan made a great run at it.”

    Eau Claire’s third goal also involved Bahlmann. The Blugolds were awarded a free kick just outside of Stout’s goal box. Senior Nikki Johnston sent the ball to the right edge of the net, where Oswall ran it down and sent it across the box to a waiting Bahlmann for the score.

    “We usually go for the far post on those plays,” Bahlmann said. “It usually doesn’t get through there.”

    The goal was Bahlmann’s first of the season, and it came at the 73:49 mark. Stout was able to add a goal at the 82:05 mark, but Eau Claire struck in the final minute of play when Unterweger found sophomore Kacie Fry alone on the right side. The goal was Fry’s first of the season.

    Eau Claire’s next opponent will be UW-Oshkosh, which advanced to the semifinals with a 7-0 thumping of UW-River Falls. Oshkosh won the previous meeting between the schools 1-0 in double overtime. The game, played in Eau Claire, was one of only two games this season where the Blugolds were out-shot.

    The winner of the Eau Claire-Oshkosh game will take on the winner of the matchup between UW-Stevens Point and UW-Whitewater game. Stevens Point, which has won the last four WIAC tournament championships, advanced to the semifinals with a 6-0 win over UW-Platteville. Whitewater moved on after a 2-1 road victory over UW-La Crosse.

    Yengo said he expects the second match up between Eau Claire and Oshkosh to be very competitive, and that it would be a little more physical.

    Bahlmann said the team is out to get Oshkosh.

    “We didn’t have our greatest game the last time we played them,” she said. “We have the confidence that we can beat them.”

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    Women’s soccer scores its way to semifinals