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

    Coming up empty in the Empire State


    The women’s soccer team dropped their season opener 1-0 Friday afternoon against Ithaca College (N.Y.), and couldn’t rebound Saturday against host school William Smith (N.Y.), losing 4-0, ending their east coast trip winless.

    Despite the losses, the team maintains high expectations for the young season.

    For most of the first game, the Blugolds hung tough with the score knotted at zero and it took some late game heroics in the waning moments to secure the victory for Ithaca. Senior Sam Gilbert expected an intense game all the way to the finish.

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    “We knew this would be a physical, tough game,” Gilbert said. “They made the final four last year, so we knew what we were up against. It was back and forth for most of the game. We both had our chances.”

    It was Ithaca who finally capitalized when junior Anna Gray took advantage of a free kick opportunity with only minutes remaining from about 40 yards out, sailing the ball over the outreached hands of junior goalkeeper Nina Behrenbrinker.

    Despite the defeat, players saw some encouraging signs as they move forward with their season, and
    senior Amanda Hakala thinks it might have been the first game jitters that           affected their play.

    “We were kind of nervous going up against a team like Ithaca,” Hakala said. “But our freshman were really great. It’s great to know that they can step in and play as hard or harder than any of us.”

    Effort was not the problem on    Friday, however.

    “We had really good chances and took players on all day,” Gilbert said. “We just couldn’t finish on those chances. We need to work on keeping possession of the ball longer and finish on our opportunities.”

    It was more of the same on Saturday against William Smith. The Blugolds stuck around early, trailing by just one goal at halftime, but three second-half goals left them
    looking overmatched.

    Head coach Sean Yengo liked what he saw from his young squad despite the losses and said the early season games are more about              building experience.

    “The team enjoyed the opportunity to play two exceptional schools,” Yengo said. “Now our focus will be getting ready for conference play and in region games.”

    Looking ahead, senior leaders will work to correct those mistakes and are expecting big things from this year’s squad.

    “Being a senior, leaving on a good note means everything,” Hakala said. “We’ve put our heart and dedication into making this team great for three years. This team is great, and we’re ready to show that.”

    The seniors plan to meet those high expectations, and as a team, created a list of goals to help them get there.

    “Our goal is to take home the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship,” Gilbert said. “It’s been a few years, so we really want to bring that home with us this year.”

    A loss to Ithaca doesn’t change the goal, but when conference play begins, the competition won’t get any easier, and to bring home the end of year hardware they’ll need continued production from the

    “(UW) Whitewater always comes out strong and (UW) Oshkosh will be tough again this year as well,” Hakala said. “We’ve got really high expectations for this freshman class though. They’re going to be a great asset to us.”

    The team continued their early-season schedule Wednesday with a 1-0 loss to Carleton College (Minn.).



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    Coming up empty in the Empire State