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 sets season record

    When seniors on the UW-Eau Claire women’s soccer team first took the field four years ago, the results were hardly anything to brag about.

    After two years of 8-11-1 and 7-10-1 records along with early exits from the conference tournament, the Blugolds took the WIAC by surprise in winning the conference title last year.

    And Saturday, a week after clinching its second straight WIAC championship, the ‘Golds made history with their school record 18th win in routing St. Scholastica (Minn.) 3-0 at Bollinger Field.

    Eau Claire also set the school record for shutouts in a season with 13.

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    Now, with the postseason beginning Tuesday with a conference tournament game at home against UW-Platteville, the Blugolds have a chance to make more history.

    “This year coming back as returning conference champs, I don’t think we were going to catch anybody by surprise,” coach Sean Yengo said. “To dominate the conference the way we did was pretty impressive.”

    Saturday, the Blugolds scored three goals and narrowly missed out on several others in the first half.

    One goal was discounted because it came seconds after a whistle had blown. Two more were inches from the goal but kicked away.

    After senior Maria Iaizzo’s team-leading 14th goal 16 minutes into the first half, it was a goalie misplay that gave Eau Claire its second score of the day.

    The Blugolds were retreating back to defense when the ball slipped out of the hands of St. Scholastica goalie Kelly Momsen and into the net for a 2-0 Eau Claire lead.

    In the second half, senior Emily Meisinger provided an even bigger cushion, taking assists from Iaizzo and sophomore Jessica Millard from the cross and sending in her eighth goal of the season.

    It was the Blugolds’ 50th goal of the season, compared to just eight for their opponents.

    “We played together as a team and just had a lot of fun,” Meisinger said. “That’s what we need to have happen in the postseason.”

    Yengo said the game against the Saints, who at 17-2-1 overall won the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference title, was exactly what the Blugolds were hoping for heading into the postseason.

    “That was probably one of our best games of the year,” Yengo said. “We wanted to come in and have a really good game and we just couldn’t ask for anything better.”

    The Blugolds have lost only once at Bollinger Field since October 2004, a statistic that works in their favor as they have home-field advantage Tuesday against UW-Platteville in the WIAC tournament.

    Eau Claire gave up only four goals in WIAC play all season, but the first of those came against the Pioneers.

    “It’s a game we’re looking forward to,” Yengo said. “You either win and keep going or you lose and go home. It’s pretty straightforward.”

    For the seniors, the past two seasons have been especially gratifying, Meisinger said.

    “The first two years were a struggle,” she said. “To win conference the past two years, we worked for it and we deserved it. It wasn’t just handed to us.”

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    Women’s soccer sets season record