Wisconsin soccer garners 300th win

first_imgGREGORY DIXON/Herald PhotoAfter losing their Big Ten conference opener to No. 19 Illinois 4-2 on Friday night, Wisconsin’s women’s soccer team salvaged the weekend, reaching a milestone by knocking off Iowa 1-0 Sunday afternoon to earn the 300th win in program history.”At this point, going into our Big Ten season and during a 25th reunion period, it’s something that is a milestone for this program,” head coach Dean Duerst said after the game. “You can look back that we did it at a special time.”Whether the 300th win would come Sunday or have to wait until next weekend was something that wasn’t decided until late in the second half. Wisconsin senior midfielder Allison Preiss’ goal in the 74th minute proved to be the only goal of the match. Preiss’ first goal of the season came about as a result of some interesting circumstances. Moments before Preiss’ goal, UW senior midfielder Kara Kabellis charged a bouncing ball and ended up colliding with Iowa goalkeeper Ali Becker. No foul was called and Becker lay on the ground for a couple of moments before getting up and assuring her team and the referees she was able to continue. On the ensuing corner-kick, sophomore midfielder Elise Weber sent the ball into the box where Becker made a diving save but was unable to control the ball. Preiss made her pay for the mistake as she held off a Hawkeye defender to notch the goal. “It was definitely a battle throughout the whole game,” UW junior midfielder Marissa Sarkesian said. “We could’ve gotten a little bit more offense and more shots, but we definitely got the job done and that’s all that matters; pulling out that first win in the Big Ten.”The Badgers controlled the pace of play for most of the match and had a healthy advantage statistically, but found themselves having to battle until the end to get the win. Clinging to a 1-0 lead with just over 10 minutes to play, the Badgers had to withstand one last Hawkeye attack. UW junior goalkeeper Lynn Murray, who recorded her second straight shutout, came out to make a diving stop on the ball but missed and Iowa gained control. Iowa’s Christina Sahly received a pass and was facing a nearly wide open net. The only thing in her way was UW junior defender Ann Eshun, who was standing in the middle of the goal line. Had she placed it just about anywhere else, Sahly would’ve likely tied the game, but she kicked it directly at Eshun who moved the huge kick save to preserve the historic win for the Badgers. “We came here to win the game; in a mind frame, as a team,” Duerst said. “I think that was the most important aspect in preparing for this game coming from a tough Friday night.” Things did not go according to plan Friday night as the Badgers kicked off their Big Ten season. The Badgers were hoping to build off a quality non-conference performance, but instead fell to No. 19 Illinois 4-2 in front of an attendance of 490 at the McClimon Complex. The Illini struck first; converting on their first shot on goal just over six minutes into the match. A corner kick from midfielder Kristy Weeks was deflected and the ball landed right on the foot of fellow midfielder Courtney Bell who knocked it past starting UW goalkeeper Stefani Szczechowski to give Illinois the early lead. The Badgers would rebound, however, tying the game on a free kick from defender Ann Eshun in the 23rd minute.Eshun’s free kick found its way into the back of the net thanks to some traffic in front of the goal box, which blinded Illinois goalkeeper Lindsey Carstens. Some of that credit could be given to Kabellis who may have provided enough distraction in front to throw off the keeper’s attention long enough for Eshun to notch her first goal of the season.The tie would not last for long though, as just under six minutes later, the Illini struck again. Illinois forward Chichi Nweke, who had just subbed in, dribbled into the penalty box, and as the UW defenders closed in on her, dished the ball back to teammate Mary Therese McDonnell. Wasting little time, the defender drilled it past Szczechowski to give Illinois the 2-1 advantage.The score remained 2-1 as the horn sounded to close out the first half. For the fourth time this season, the Badgers found themselves trailing at the break. Since coming back to beat Creighton in the season opener, the Badgers had lost two straight matches when trailing at the half and Friday night was no different as the team was unable to muster much offense in the second session.Illinois extended its lead to 3-1 just under five minutes into the second half as forward Eva Strickland took a pass from Bell and beat Szczechowski. Strickland’s goal marked the first time this season that a UW opponent had scored more than two goals and, unfortunately for the Badgers, the Illini weren’t done yet.In the 59th minute, Illinois midfielder Marti Desjarlais capped the Illini scoring. A pass from forward Ella Massar missed its intended target but landed right at Desjarlais’ foot to give her team a 4-1 lead.”It was a night in which we were compounding some of our own problems,” Duerst said after Friday night’s game. “We weren’t marking as tight and we were letting them get in too easily behind. [Illinois] is a dangerous team. They’re very efficient in their finishing and it showed tonight.”Wisconsin showed some signs of life later as newly-substituted midfielder Sheri Ferron, one of six Badgers that came in as part of a mass substitution mid-way through the second half, found Kabellis, who launched a shot from a good 30 yards away and beat Carstens to the far-back post.After the game, Kabellis, like Duerst, cited the defense has been an area in which they need to improve; saying they need to start playing defense all over the field. “We let people slip through,” Kabellis said. “There were breakdowns in the midfield and up top and some in the defense as well.”To get more wins in the future, Kabellis feels the team just needs to be tighter on the defensive end. “Bottom line is to get more shutouts,” she said. “We need to stop teams from scoring. If we can do that, we’ll come out on top.”last_img

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