On to the playoffs


With the WIAC playoff tournament beginning on Nov. 5, the UW-Eau Claire women’s soccer team will be fighting to keep their season alive — something head coach Sean Yengo said the team is no stranger to.

The Blugolds did just that Saturday at home against UW-River Falls, pulling out a 2-1 come from behind victory in overtime to secure a spot in the tournament. Junior Teighlor Tvedt tied the game with a goal in the 61st minute off an assist from her high school teammate at Verona Area High School, Allie Stone.

Sophomore Caroline Henderson knocked in the game-winner with a goal 33 seconds into overtime off an assist from sophomore forward Tara Dennehy to secure the victory.

The home win means the Blugolds will not be on the road for the entire playoff season.

Yengo said the team could not have been happier with the result of Saturday’s match against the Falcons.

“We kept our composure and stuck to our game plan,” Yengo said. “We had an outstanding second half and got the equalizer and we took advantage of the opportunity we had in overtime.”

Eau Claire is currently ranked fourth out of nine in the WIAC standings. Yengo said the team is excited to get into the playoff season because it allows the team to separate themselves away from the bumps faced in the regular season.

“The way we look at it is we’ve been playing this win or go home type of mentality for the past couple weeks, because we’ve been right on the verge of ‘are we in the tournament?’ or ‘are we out of the tournament?’,” Yengo said. “So, we think we are more than prepared for the conference tournament because of the last couple weeks of our regular season.”

Other than a 9-0 blowout win over UW-Superior eight days ago, the Blugolds have had five conference games decided by one goal or less. They also haven’t played in a game where the difference in goals was above two since a 4-1 win over Augsburg (Minn.) on Sep. 5.

The Blugolds’ conference record sits at 4-3-1. The Falcons are sitting at 2-4-1, but Yengo said every win counts and no match can be discounted, referencing a recent upset between UW-Oshkosh and UW-Platteville.

Dennehy said the team is a little anxious to play UW-Whitewater during the course of the playoffs.

Throughout the regular season the Blugolds have focused on taking chances around the box and playing brave. She said the similar attitudes will continue into playoff season.

“(We have talked about) being courageous, staying composed, fighting for our lives, taking chances, just giving everything that we have,” Dennehy said.

Even though Eau Claire ended their regular season on a loss against Saint Benedict (Minn.) on Sunday, Yengo said the team was more focused on the win on Senior Day against River Falls.

“At the end of the day we realized we won the most important game, and that was the conference game,” Yengo said.

Dennehy said the team is determined to keep the Blugold senior’s season continuing for as long as possible. There are eight seniors on the Eau Claire women’s soccer team.

“Already I’m starting to realize how fast it goes,” Dennehy said. “I can’t imagine what it feels like for the seniors so I’m just giving everything that I have and help them keep their season alive.”

Yengo said this specific group of seniors have always had a strong devotion to the success of the team.

“I think we are pretty anxious to get the conference tournament underway,” Yengo said. “I think we are just anxious and excited,” Yengo said. “It’s a new season for us.”

The Blugolds play on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the first round of the WIAC Championship. The final schedule — time, location and opponents — will be released later this week.