No squandered opportunities

After a string of ties and losses, the UW-Eau Claire women’s soccer team secured a win against Bethel University (Minn.) on Wednesday night at Bollinger Fields.

The Blugolds started the first half of the match with three quick goals. In the 19th minute, sophomore Caroline Henderson scored the first goal of the game with an assist from senior Paige LeGate. Henderson said she and LeGate noticed the opportunity and tapped the ball in. Henderson said in recent games, the players have been having a difficult time following through on goal opportunities so the mentality was being brave by the goal.

“We’ve really been struggling in scoring, and we came out right away and got three goals,” Henderson said.

Eau Claire currently sits at 3-2-3 for wins, losses and ties. The last win was Sept. 5 against Hamline University (Minn.). Head coach Sean Yengo said the team was working on taking chances and making opportunities happen.

“We’ve been playing good soccer leading up to this game, but we just aren’t getting results,” Yengo said. “And a lot of it is just being a little bit more courageous in the attacking third of the field.”

The Blugolds had a total of 18 shots — seven in the first half and eleven in the second — beating Bethel’s seven total shots. Freshman Jackie Nailor said the team was working hard to take opportunities.

“When you take chances, good things happen,” Nailor said. “Compared to a lot of other games we played, we came out here and laid it all on the line in front of the goal.”

The second goal of the match was scored by sophomore Tara Dennehy in the 22nd minute and the third by freshman Jocelyn Etten at the 30th minute. Bethel sank their only goal at 40th minute of the first half. The second half remained scoreless for both teams.

Yengo said he didn’t think the women didn’t slow down, but they didn’t follow through on goal attempts.

“That was the difference between the first half and the second half,” Yengo said “We converted them.”

Nailor had two shots on goal in the second half but came up unsuccessful.

“I wanted to get that goal so bad,” Nailor said. “It didn’t happen, but I’m glad our team came out with a win and was more courageous in front of the box.”

Henderson said finally getting a “W” on their record is a nice confidence boost before facing off against conference leading UW-Whitewater.

The next four games, all on the road, are WIAC conference games. Yengo said going into the three weeks with a win is a confidence boost.

Henderson said carrying the courage at the goal through the whole game will be on the Blugolds’ minds in the weeks ahead, including Saturday’s pivotal conference match up in Whitewater.