We started off the weekend with the semifinal game of the Horizon League Tournament against the Butler Bulldogs. In our last meeting we won 5-1, but it is always different when it comes down to tournament time.
The game started like all our games start, with us creating so many chances and never really finishing. It went like this for the first 75 minutes until they were the first to get on the board--0-1. In my opinion, this was actually to their disadvantage. It lit a fire under us and we came out stronger then we had all game. Heather Roadhouse took a ball endline and served it into Pam Shipway, who finished nicely with her head. It was a great ball and a great finish.
This put us into overtime. The first 10 went past and into the second overtime. The play that decided the match started with a throw-in to speedy Erin Kreuser, who got us a corner. Mandy (Winn) then sent the ball in and my hero Sarah Teegarden came up with the ball and finished with a half volley.
We sang `Glory, Glory' on the field and headed to the finals on Sunday against Loyola.
Nov. 11th--- Finals
If this was the first soccer game a person witnessed, I would like to believe they would be convinced soccer is an exciting and great sport. This game was very intense and back and forth.
We headed into the last fifteen minutes with a 2-0 lead. We got two great goals from a pair of freshmen. First, Sarah Talbert and second Nicole Hirsch. We were looking as if we were in a great position, which we were. Unfortunately, we let them get back into it. Scoring two goals to tie it and again we went into overtime on Englemann Field.
This time however, we didn't score in either of the 10-minute periods and headed into penalty kicks. And, up until this weekend I said we never lose in PKs. This just wasn't our day and we ended up losing at the sixth shooter--2nd place.
Our last hope at making it to the NCAA Tournament was the chance of an at-large bid. However, after all of us got together to watch ESPN Monday tonight, we didn't make it and our season has ended. Nothing to do now, but to say thank you to a great class of seniors and to continue to grow as a team.
After Saturday night's game, we moved one step closer to a conference tournament championship and it was our first step forward after Texas A&M. It was not the best performances of ours, but we did what it took to beat Cleveland State, 1-0.
We came into the game with a previous win over CSU 6-0. It was one of the most exciting second halves we had played on Englemann field, scoring five of our goals. Expecting something similar, we came out strong and within 15 minutes speedy little Beth Steuer had given us the lead with a nice shot far post from the left side. At the time, we didn't expect it to be a game winner, but in the end it was.
We controlled the game throughout the rest of time and did not let them get within 30 yards of our goal, except for one or two times. We held them without a shot. Our finishing was below our expectations, having 28 shots, only a few on goal. Teegarden, my hero, had a great shot in the second half, hitting the post. The ball scrambled around the top of their box a few times, but we couldn't put it in. The game ended 1-0.
How I look at it is, we got it done and we know we need to do more. We go into next week's game against a team who I think will bring a good game, and we won't be complacent. We face off against Butler next Friday and we are looking to step it up and get back into our scoring. We are continuing to grow as a team and next Friday will show it.
We have been given many opportunities this season to make a name for ourselves, but the ball just doesn't seem to bounce our way on those days. This weekend we were given the chance to play the No. 2 team in the nation, Texas A&M. We flew into Dallas and took a bus to College Station, a long travel day, but arrived Thursday. We got time to practice that night on their game field--Bermuda grass, similar to turf, but nothing we can't play on.
This game was going to be a huge test of our maturity. If we lost, we would then have a chance to gain in maturity. In the end, we are given the chance to gain in maturity. If we want to be a successful, and meet the goals that we have set for ourselves, we must grow from this game. No matter what role each of us played in this game--even if you were a player that didn't travel--we must realize what this game has the capabilities to do to our team. This game took a team, our team, which has the abilities to play against the best in the country, because I truly believe we are one of the best, and broke us down, but not because we aren't good enough.
Last year, we almost beat Notre Dame in the NCAA Tournament Second Round and watched them go on to take second place. That's the second best team in the nation. We had them on their heels for 85 minutes of that game. Why now is it different? This game has shown us that we are missing something other then the play in front of us, and that will be detrimental to our success if we don't find it.
We have faced big crowds before, maybe not 3,000 fans cheering in unison as the 12th man, but we have faced crowds before. With 3,000 yelling fans or not, it is the same game of soccer, and we are the same team. Whether they are ranked No. 1, No. 2 or not ranked, it is a team that plays the same game we do--Soccer. Then why do we not play our game?
We walk away having to pick between two choices. One, we brush this off as nothing and pretend it didn't happen. Or two, we accept it and make a change, understand that we need to find that leadership that will unite us as a team on the field. The leadership that will make us the team that we are capable of being, drive us to play the way we all know we can, and most of all give us the confidence that in the face of 3,000 fans or a national ranking that we won't waver but step up confidently with strength from within and win.
Time will only tell what choice as a team we choose.
Oct 16th- Big Game #1
We faced Loyola Tuesday, who has become a dominating force within the Horizon League. They have two very strong forwards, including one who was newcomer of the year last year. We were able to limit them and won 2-1.
It was an intense game from my point of view. We created chances for ourselves didn't finish as many as we would like. Our 1-0 lead came in the first half when my hero Sarah Teegarden took one of the sweetest shots from about 20-25 yards out after beating one of their defenders. It was a line drive to the upper corner and gave their keeper no chance to save it.
They had their moments, don't get me wrong. Just, no where near as many as we did. But, when their center forward, #10 but who I will be referring to as "the stud up top", got the ball she was able to show our impatience and cut a few of us from time to time, but always ran into our covering defenders and didn't get too close to our goal.
Well, that is, until they had a throw-in early in the second half. They tossed it to their "stud up top", who spun our outside back, cut once, cut twice (might have cut a third time... who knows), broke through our back line and hit a low shot to the far post and deflected in.
Anyways, we like to win on Englemann field and we weren't going to settle for a tie. So, a little while after their "stud up top" scored a goal it was time for our team to strike back. As a diversion, Sperl pretended to be me, while I pretended to be her, and Sperl (pretending to be me) passed a great through ball to Pam, who had cut inside and was beating her defender in a foot race. It was one of those slow motion/super exciting things where you realize that you're just standing there on the field ball-watching when you're suppose to be following it in. Well lucky for me, who would have gotten in big trouble for not following, Pam finished the goal, pushing the ball right past the keeper. 2-1 us.
Game over and we won! Two more games to being regular season champs!
Oct 19th- You take one, I'll take one, she'll take one...
It was a pretty special night, I thought, being Parent's Night and all, and playing a great game to watch. It was exciting and fun for all of us.
To see six goals in one game... and some of them were amazingly sick (in a good way), is a great thing. It was our way of thanking our parents.
The first half started off slow, with our only goal came from Pam Shipway, who sent a cross in that went right over the keepers head and into the goal. Now, Pam may not admit this, but we have been heavily training her in practice to perform such a difficult ball and obviously she intentionally put the ball exactly there. 1-0.
The second half started and I thought I start it off well. Basically, a ball bounced my way on the left side of the top of the box. My defender came in a little too fast, I took a touch to the left and shot it past the keeper. Not too great of a goal, but if you weren't there I am sorry you missed the celebration because I was pretty proud of that. I jumped right onto Edy's (Erin DeYoungs) shoulders... she was standing straight up by the way. I was mainly proud because, like Pam's goal early, Edy and I have been heavily practicing this... outside of practice, of course.
The next goal came soon when a cross came in from the outside. It bounced around and back out to Drea, who hit a great shot, but right at the crossbar. Erin Kreuser was there to head it in, but was a little too short. So, instead, she headed it to herself and volleyed it past the keeper--3-0. Next goal: Amanda Winn, took a sweet corner, and as the announcer said, banana-kicked it in for a goal--4-0. Next, Jodi Klagos, the aggressive little forward she is, got a penalty kick called and Sperl finished--5-0. The sixth and final goal came from Piggy (Claire Pignet) on one of the sweetest outside freekicks ever. Striking the ball like no other, about 40 yards out and to the side, she hit the top post and it bounced in. I don't even think their keeper knew the ball had been hit. 6-0.
Those of you who know my theory that I have been developing, yes it has been shattered by this game. It was quite a Parent's Night. Now, just one last league game until we will be league champs again and hosts of the Horizon League Tournament.
Oct 21st- Glory Glory Panther Soccer...
Sunday was Senior Day and, of course, we would like to give our seniors a win. This pack of seniors has done a lot for this program and is a huge part of this team even if there are only four of them. The fate of us being regular season champs rested in this game against Wright State. We win and we walk away as champions and hosts of the conference tournament.
The game was a good one, not as good as Friday's, but we still had moments of good ball movement. We scored pretty early, Kresuer... oh, speedy Kresuer... dribbled through their back line and chipped the ball across the box from just inside the six. Two of their players cleared the ball off the line, but kicked it right to me. So, I kicked it in the goal--1-0.
Went into the halftime without really giving up much and came out of halftime not really giving up much. It was a pretty comfortable win. The second goal came in the second half, after Steuer served a good ball into the box, it bounced around and out to Shipway for a reserve. Teegarden finished--2-0.
The only thing better then playing on Englemann field is singing "Glory Glory" after a win on it.
Oct 12th- Valpo and Horizon League
If you didn't know, Valparaiso was added to the Horizon League this year. So, for the first time we would hit the road to Valpo. It wasn't a bad trip and it went pretty quick. We took bets (not really ones) on what their mascot was and, for the record, Teegarden and I were correct: The Valparaiso Crusaders.
A name doesn't do much concerning the outcome of the game, and in this game, the Panthers came out on top. We walked away with another league game win. It took us a little while to score our first goal. It came with about 10 minutes or so left in the half. Nice serve from Edy (Erin DeYoung), Talbert beat a girl end line and layed in back across the six for Sperl to place nicely in the back of the net.
The second goal came in the second half. In my opinion much credit goes to David. Who I heard yelling to take the girl on, five seconds later, I was lying on my back in the box and we have a penalty kick. Now, I would like to say I did not dive or exaggerate because there were some complaints about the call. I would be honest if I didn't think it was a good call. Anyways the Sniper (JoJo Severson) shot a well placed ball that the keeper, diving in the correct direction, couldn't grab.
Game over. Panthers win! It was nice to get another victory but I bring up the same old issues of scoring. Also, my theory holds true, no goal in the first 10 minutes then no more then two goals. We outshoot our opponents by large numbers so we should be winning by large numbers, not one or two goals.
On a happier note we are just about all in full health. Jodi Klagos has returned from a knee injury and has been making an impact the past couple of games. As small as she is, she can surely hold the ball with her back to the goal better then most. Also Sarah Talbert is back in the lineup after hurting her ankle in Madison earlier in season. She obviously is helping out, with an assist in the game. Lou has been working her way back quickly and will be back in no time as well. I however have been temporarily added to the injury list but hope to play Tuesday. For those who were at the game, you got to see me cry like a baby in the box, but I'm hoping to suck in up for Tuesday!
So all in all it's looking pretty good. A big game coming up on Tuesday against Loyola at home, we would love all your support!
Sorry for the delay, you would not believe the computer problems I had on Monday.
Oct 3rd- "We're going to Green Bay and we're gonna win!" Coach Botham, w. bball
Personally, I like weekday games. It usually means a lighter week of training and a good reason to miss class. This weekday game is an important game too. Yes, one of those important games I always talk about. Green Bay, a Horizon League rival as well as the game to see who takes the state of Wisconsin. Marquette and Madison tied in preseason so if we win we would take the state. If we tied, we would tie Marquette for the state, but why would anyone want to tie with Marquette?!
So of course, we won then! 4-0. We scored early. Pam had a nice cross in, Kreuser made a flick to far post and Steuer finished. A little while later, a corner by Winn and Kayla DeJardin finished to put us up 2-0.
We went into half time feeling good, and ready to come back out and break them to seal the game. It started with Winnie hitting a sweet freekick, about 25 yards out, kept it low and near post beating their keeper. For those who were there, we got to watch her do her dance after which could make anyone laugh. So 3-0. Finally hometowner Kayla put the fourth ball in, a through ball from Sperl for the assist. Kayla scored her first collegiate goal and second to come with. This was all in front of her hometown crowd and much of her family, an exciting thing for any player.
They had some chances, a couple big girls up top that pushed themselves through our back line a couple of times, but nothing we couldn't handle or that Kane (Superman) couldn't clean up. We did well exposing their back three. In my opinion, playing with just a three back, instead of the majority choice, four backs, is difficult. Your outside backs have to be very athletic and quick to cover lots of space. It's a possible formation to play successfully and allows more numbers up top but can leave you with gaps in the back. In this game, we took advantage of their three backs and found the gaps and the spaces behind their outside backs, allowing us to play many dangerous crosses. We moved the ball well, split and pulled them apart, and created many chances--always a good thing.
So we went home, winning a league game and winning the state of Wisconsin. A day of training and another game, University of Iowa.
Oct 5th- Black and Gold vs. Black and Yellow
Iowa has done well in the Big Ten and should be a good game for us. Like always, we love to get to play at home on Englemann Field. There really is no comparison to playing on Englemann Field.
Anyway, it was a tough game. Both teams had opportunities. I feel we definitely had more. Our fitness was impressive, in my opinion, and we pounded them through both overtimes. I feel they were lucky we couldn't finish any of our chances. We once again were plagued with our inability to score. I have come up with a new theory, which could be completely wrong, but you can choose if you agree or not. I believe, that when we score within the first 10 minutes, we will score more then two goals, but if we don't we will struggle to score the rest of the game. I think we get nervous as the time goes on in the game and we tense up when our goal scoring chances come and don't make it happen.
Anyways, after 110 minutes we left Englemann Field with a draw. Back to league games on Sunday.
Oct 7th- 8 feet by 8 yards
I have talked about it before and I will talk about it again, why can't we put a thing that is roughly 10 inches in diameter in such a large goal. No matter the size of the keeper, when we are taking 37 shots, more then two of them should go in. That's a .054...5.4% ...compared to their 33%. Tell me somebody else doesn't think that is right.
Now when it came down to it we pounded until it got done. If we have to shoot the ball 37 times to get the two goals to win the game then we will. Though, wouldn't it be nice if we could do it for maybe every 10 shots have two goals. I mean 20% isn't too much to ask for right?
Anyways the game can be seen in the stats. They got into our half maybe two times in the second half and only a couple times in the first. Don't get me wrong, they played their cards well and almost had us. Their goal was a great goal on their part. They transitioned well on us, we were out of position and one of their freshmen came up big with a nice finish and has done so for them all season. Could we have prevented it, possibly, but they finished nicely.
The first goal came from Mandy sending a ball in off a freekick, about four of us got in behind Youngstown's line, I got to the ball first and flicked/volleyed the ball past their keeper to put us up 1-0. Then they scored a couple minutes later. We went into half time and then back out and hit everything except for the target until Freshman Roadhouse finally cracked a nice shot on goal to win the game. It was a relief to score, and so far my theory from before stands, our first goal came fifteen minutes in.
So we got done what was needed to get done to get the win. We go into a week of training till we play Valpo on Friday. For all you readers, be happy you don't have to be a training this week...'cause I wouldn't be happy with our play (finishing) right now if I was the coach!
Sept. 28th- League opener
It's time for our Horizon League opener. League games are the most important games of the season. If we win the regular season then we get to host the Horizon League Conference Tournament, which determines who goes to the NCAA Tournament. To start it off, we have Butler. Butler is 2-5-1, but records mean nothing when it comes down to the game. That is something you can usually count on when playing in the Horizon League, no matter the record every team comes out with a little more fight against you. Especially when you have made it to the 2nd round of the NCAA tournament the past two years and have won the past seven regular seasons.
We had a long road trip ahead of us and left for Butler. We got into town a day early got to practice on their game field. It's nice not to have to be traveling on game day. After our game against Marquette it would be nice to come into this game and knock in some goals. We have had scoring issues in the past and we would like to move past that.
That is exactly what we did. Within about five minutes or so we found ourselves up 1-0, a very nice position to be in so early in the game. It was a great ball by Sperl to Kreuser who finished nicely. To return the favor about fifteen minutes later, Kresuer sent a cross into Sperl who pretty much chipped their keeper with a header--2-0 heading into half. Now we were up 2-0 but that didn't mean they didn't have their chances. They countered well, almost scoring but sending a shot just over the cross bar.
Second half started and we were a little flat-footed to begin with, they got in again and "Superman" (Erin Kane) came up with a huge save to... well, save our butts again. So the game very well could have been 2-2 at this point. Soon we kicked it back into Panther soccer mode and before we knew it were up 4-0.
Teegarden got taken down in their penalty box and "the sniper" Jo Jo Seversen completed the goal. 3-0. The game wasn't over yet. A couple plays later, we found ourselves defending a penalty kick. Their player got taken down in the box. Angie Muir steps up for their team. I thought she was going to her right, she went to the left and that's why I don't play goalie, 4-1.
Three minutes later I played the ball into Jo Jo, who was standing on the top of the box, I call her the Sniper for a reason, she put it in to seal make it 4-1. Then, with a couple minutes remaining, Pam, standing far post, got a pass in from Kreuser and placed wonderfully past their keeper 5-1.
It was a great way to open the league to one of the better teams in the Horizon League. Have we broken our finishing issue? Only way to tell is in Detroit on Sunday.
Sept 29th- Let's sit on a bus all day!
If you want to be a college athlete you have to ask yourself an important question, "How long is too long to sit on a bus?" Because yes, you will find yourself sleeping scrunched, wishing you were shorter, crammed between a window and an isle on two chairs attempting to be your bed. These chairs, at times during the year, will see you more then your own bed will. You will learn to love batteries that last long, suduko puzzle books, pillows, 9"x9" TV screens, ipods, text messaging (too loud for phone calls most of the time), becoming nauseas while reading your textbooks, little goodie bags from the Kanes and anything else that can take your mind off of the six more hours that you need to drive. So if you can handle that, welcome to traveling as a team to places too short for taking a plane. Personally, I actually do love traveling on the bus with our team.
So from Butler we drove to Detroit.
Sept 30th- Detroit, center of the U.S.'s automobile Industry..and home of the Titans
Important game, not sure what game isn't, but an important game. Always a grudge, being the team that knocked us out of the Horizon League Tournament last year.
So a 5-1 domination would be wonderful to go with Friday's. Unfortunately out of our 18 shots, not one of them went in. None of their six shots did as well. 110 minutes and nobody scored. Sure it was a rough field, sure we missed by inches at time, sure we didn't let them out of their end in the last overtime and much of the game, and sure we forced their keeper to make some nice saves, but we didn't finish. So we walk away with the tie. The release talks about many of our close chances, which were many, but we didn't make it happen. Our plague of not finishing, that I thought we had banished, has returned! It was disappointing and to most of us feels like a loss.
We can score, and we have all seen it. Then why sometimes is an eight-foot by eight-yard rectangle so hard to penetrate?!? Yes, I know a two-demensional figure can't be penetrated because it's flat but you know what I mean!
We will have to see how it goes on Wednesday. Wednesday is not just another game, its one of those important games. We head to Green Bay to compete not only for League, but also our last stop for winning the state. It's also the home of Brett Favre and the 4-0 Packers!
Weekend Preview- Taking The State of Wisconsin
One of our team goals is to always win the state of Wisconsin. This consists of beating Madison, Marquette and Green Bay. Last year we did this and plan to do the same this year as well. This weekend starts us off towards this goal. Madison on Friday and Marquette Sunday.
Sept 21- Madtown Mayhem
Another roadtrip back to my hometown, this time for, in my opinion, our second-biggest rivals. Like I said before, I like the Badgers except for their women's soccer team and I would love to beat them anytime we get the chance.
We arrived early for a 7 p.m. game and started warming up, everyone looked great, pretty much everyone at full health. Everything was flowing as we would hope. Soon it was kick-off time and we began to pound away. We were in their end and then just like that, dark clouds rolled in and I saw one of the largest bolts of lightning I had ever seen. Everyone went quickly to their cars to wait out the storm.
And everyone was a lot of people, the Badgers had a promo and were giving out free red crocs. Eighty minutes later, while some fans had vanished, a lot climbed out of their cars and back into the stands.
That is what I love about Milwaukee, the dedication of our fans. It was at their home field and we had fans making a lot of noise! So thank you to all of you who stuck out the rain! A special thanks to West Bend Washington County Boys and Girls Club who road tripped all the way to Madison to cheer us on with face paint, t-shirts and signs. With the majority of the fans decked out in Black and Gold (except for my mom's Badger umbrella!) we took the field to continue the game.
We began to pound away again, Sperl beat a player down line and sent a cross in, I got a volley on net, but was deflected for a corner. Two minutes later, to go along with the largest lightning bolt I had ever seen earlier, now the largest rain drops I have ever felt. After 30 seconds of this it felt/looked like we had all jumped in a pool. Yes, our fans were still there.
So automatically you would think that with such heavy rain the game would turn into a bootball style of game and there would be lots of technical mistakes. Well, not for us. We adapted quickly to the rain. All of our little passes were there, little touches were there, our vision was there. There were gaps, holes, slots, lanes, anything that you can think of we had. We passed through each one of their lines on sopping wet ground. But, the goal didn't come until the second half. Kayla played a great ball into my feet, I flicked it to Kreuser, she turned, cracked a shot far left post and we went up 1-0.
The rest of the game went similarly. We had chances and finally showed how we can play soccer. Teegarden almost notched a goal for herself with a 30 yard shot and Kane came up big when their player cracked a shot from far out. We played Panther Soccer. We ended the game around 10:30 and with a great feeling. One step closer to our goal. Next up, Marquette on Sunday.
Sept 23- Battle For City Bragging Rights
Talk about an exciting game. This was a back and forth game, each team had chances. We were able to generate ours through some good build ups and tactical vision. Both teams played hard, and it was a fast-moving game in front of one of the largest crowds Englemann has seen. It was nice to be home and it would have been nice to walk away with the win. Instead we will take the tie, but know we are better than our record shows and proof we are starting to play that way. It must have been an exciting game to watch because there are too many close chances for me to recap on. We were aggressive in the box and feisty on defense. Kane, who I am now calling `Superman,' was amazing when we needed her to be.
So we no longer can out right win Wisconsin unless Marquette loses to Madison, but we don't lose the state either.
We are another step closer the NCAA and now its time to win our conference. We have a long road trip next weekend to take on Butler and Detroit.
9-13-07 - Leaving on a jet plane
It was nice to have a half day of classes before we all packed into the vans and headed for the airport. We are heading into a big weekend that could really help us towards sealing an at large bid for the NCAA tournament at the end of the season. We start off with Boston College, which is ranked 8th in the country, and then face Harvard, which fell to BC but held their own throughout the game. So, with all of us dressed in our white polos, we headed off to Boston.
We had a later flight so it didn't allow for any training. We picked up some dinner on the way to the hotel, got our rooms and pretty much went to bed. Now room assignments are always a pressing issue. See, the upperclassmen can cause quite a ruckus if they have to share a bed while an underclassman gets their own. Luckily this trip there was no drama...except for with me! I know I am a sophomore, soccer-wise, but this is my third season with the program! I found my self having to share a bed with none other then little Sperl. Anyways, back to the soccer.
9-14-07 Boston College Turbulence
Big game--no doubt about it. Good team--no doubt about it. What approach do you take to give yourself the advantage for the `W'? The weeks prior we have been hammering out our back line, but this most recent week we added somewhat of a new formation. Laugh if you must, but a 4-2-2-2. Sounds different compared to a 4-3-3 or a 4-5-1, but yes, four different lines. Our back four are now kink-free. We move to two defensive midfield, two attacking and then two forwards. Then where does the width come from? That was my question at first as well. It was also where our struggle was the first half against BC. The formation is designed, depending on who is wider, for either the left attacking mid or the left forward to create the width to the left and vice versa on the right. Having just started practicing it, it was tough to adapt to, especially with a team like BC, which has fast ball movement and fast players.
About 30 minutes in, the ball shifted. They served into our box, not the best clear on our part, another re-serve, bobbled within our six and a goal. We were now chasing. Similar to the BU game last Friday.
Throughout the game we had our chances. The first chance of the game was ours. Quick little Kreuser got in on a breakaway that their goalie came away with the save. Near the end of the first half we had two corners and a re-serve that was close but got deflected. We also switched to a 4-3-3 towards the end of the first half, trying to press their backs into a mistake.
In the end we faced a good team. Easily the best we have faced so far. We played well but still not to our best. For those who were there to see, which was a lot of parents, our little passes didn't connect and we forced things. We played the long ball too short passes and too soon. Our play in the attacking third wasn't flowing and in result didn't accomplish.
It was a tough game but like always we gained from it. It can't break our season because we were underdogs and not supposed to win. But it shows us, when tournament time comes, we can compete. After a couple more weeks of fine-tuning details we will be ready for teams like Boston College and we won't be walking away with the loss.
9-15-07 - Down History Lane
I am now proud to say I have seen Paul Revere's house, as well as many other important places in history, and I have the holes in the soles of my shoes to prove it. Saturday is our day to site see when we go on long trips. Don't get me wrong, the trip is business, we have games to win, but I won't complain about getting to see a new city either. Many of our parents were able to make it out to the games, even the Talberts (Sarah hurt her ankle bad last weekend and couldn't travel with us), and we got to spend time with them doing whatever you like. Ideally it would be going to the Boston Red Sox versus the Yankees game, but I settled for the Freedom Trail tour with my parents/group. Many people took advantage of the time and headed downtown as well. After some free time we regrouped and headed to dinner as a team, while our fan club/parents all got together for dinner as well.
9-16-07 - Harvard smarts
I am sure the recap of the game has been read by most of you or you have heard somewhere that we ended up loosing. I have to say that it was old the first time we got scored on and were chasing, but now three games. Other then the BC game, these are games we feel we should be winning. Teams get ahead because we beat ourselves with little mistakes. Everybody works so hard and puts in so much time and effort that we don't deserve to do this to ourselves. So we can take that away as added motivation for our next game.
To sum it up for those who weren't there: We dominated--plain and simple. Not to take anything away from Harvard. They did what they had to do, but we outshot them and out-possessed them. But, we let them score early and then couldn't create on offense no matter how hard we pounded. We forced when then shouldn't have forced and we kept possession when we should go forward. We hit the crossbar, and the goalie, but not the net. It was frustrating for all of us.
This was a game that comes tournament selection time, will effect us. There is no more banking on at-large bids, so now a Horizon League championship is a must. Its time to work on our finishing and iron out those little mistakes. We are not going to get scored on early in games anymore. Mistakes and problem areas can't go unnoticed when you lose a game. And there is nothing to do but to fix them.
Sept 7th- Heading Home To Madison
This weekend we arrived in my, as well as two other Panthers, hometown of Madison! It is always a weekend to look forward to for us. Now don't get me wrong when I say I grew up loving the Badgers and they still have a special place in my heart... in all other sports except women's soccer... and I would love nothing more then to crush them every time we play them. This weekend, however, it is just the Madison Invitational tournament and we face other opponents.
To kick off the weekend, we face Boston University, who, like us, has been receiving top 25 votes by the NSCAA. They also have a hometown player, who the three of us Madison kids grew up playing with, their goalkeeper, Christina Reuter. Once again, I wish her the best of wishes in all of her matches... except for when she is playing us!
The game started well, having an almost goal within the first three or so minutes. A cross came in and the ball bobbled around their inner six-yard box, with our players around it, until they got a clear. It was one of those get off your seat in the stands and tense up moments. Then we fell into a groove, and not a good one. It started with a foul call on us, just into our defensive half, setting them up for a set piece to serve into our box. Their player smacked the ball to the far post, getting past our player, and in the end we were down 0-1.
For the next 35 minutes of the half we were stuck in this groove, in just `blah' motion. Everything seemed a little off, not moving together, not connecting passes, something was off. Halftime came and we huddled up, everyone feeling a little bummed. Mike stood in front of us and asked, "what's our biggest problem?" Every other person gave a response of something small we were lacking here or there. "It's just Blah!" Which was the honest case and we just needed to hear it.
After that regrouping, we stepped back onto the field and for those fans in the stands saw, we were a completely different team and Boston didn't get out of their half for more then two minutes the whole half.
We created our chances to get the game back, though unfortunately couldn't put them away and started playing our soccer a little too late to walk away with the victory or even a tie. It was disappointing and nobody likes to lose.
The one thing we did have to look forward to was food with our families. The nice thing about our trip to Madison every year is our parents put together a dinner for us after the game where we get to sit and eat together. This dinner includes baked goods from some moms which can make anyone feel better after a tough loss.
Sunday will be another day against UC-Santa Barbara.
Sept 9th- Boo-Boo Misfortune
The weekend had started off with Senior Amanda Winn missing the game on Friday. Now, heading into Sunday's game against UC-Santa Barbara, where we have some making up to do, I just found out I would not be playing. I hurt my big toe and couldn't walk very well. Amanda and I are only two players of a team with a lot of depth, but both our center backs, the two Claires (Pignet and Watkins), were banged up from Friday as well. Then, 10 minutes into our game, freshman player Sarah Talbert goes down with a hurt ankle. That's three of our midfield out and two beat up center backs. Like I said however we are a team of depth and we won't back down to a challenge.
The rest of our players pulled out an almost 110-minute match, going into double overtime, until we scored to win in sudden death. It was a real battle, not only of fitness, but of physical strength. They smacked our players down and our players kept getting back up. The Krueser-Sperl connection was at it again and was too much for their back line and we defeated them in the end. Sperl scoring off of Krueser's ball.
For those who watched, it wasn't a pretty game, we sunk into their style of boot ball for parts of it, but were victorious in the end. For those who didn't watch it, main highlight that you missed was a diving save, while reaching across her body, to block a shot going upper 90, by Erin Kane. Now, if I didn't explain that well, just imagine the sweetest save you have ever seen, put into overtime and Erin Kane's face on it, and it was something like that. Also if you read what I wrote last weekend about Teegarden being able to strip anyone 1v1, this game was a perfect example.
We head back to three days of classes and then off to Boston! We will be playing Boston College, who is top-10 and Harvard who are a bunch of smart people. I know a couple families will be making the trip but for the rest of you, I let you know how it went next Monday!
(EDITOR'S NOTE: Admittedly, Kate doesn't know much about Harvard.)
Aug 31 - Our Englemann Field
There is nothing better than playing on Englemann Field under the lights. We kicked off our regular season against Indiana State and got our first real chance to play at home. I think the feeling is mutual across the board that getting to play and/or watch the team play on Englemann brings a smile to your face. That smile only got bigger on Friday Night.
We came out strong and immediately were knocking on Indiana State's door. Our first goal came from a serve from Kayla Dejardin, I got on the end of it and flicked it back to Louise Vraney, who headed it right past their goalie. It was an excellent finish and put us in a good position heading into half time and ready to come back for some more in the second half.
We ended the game 3-0 and for those who were there, and I believe it was just under 500 people in attendance, were able to witness how much we really were knocking for more goals. We ended the game with 30 shots but only three goals, the second one being some what of a fluke as well.
The second goal came around fifteen minutes in, I took a corner kick, and if you would like to believe that I strategically placed it so their player would kick it into their own goal, then I won't try to convince you otherwise, but we were up 2-0 thanks to one of their players.
The third goal was more Panther-like, once again off a corner kick, Claire Pignet served one in and freshman Sarah Talbert was in great position and finished. Ending the game 3-0, and us with our first victory on Englemann and for the season.
Overall, yes we should have finished more of our chances, but for those of you who have been watching this team in the past, one of the things we would struggle with at times was getting forward and creating those chances. It's exciting to see us this early in the season creating 30 of them. What's even more exciting to me is how fun it has been in just these first couple of games. We brought in a great freshman class which has already made an impact and we have a team that really flows and plays well together. I can't wait to see how we continue to grow as a team and see the play that can come from us.
Sept 2 - Milwaukee Cup Champions
I am cutting straight to the major news of the weekend, for the first time since the Milwaukee Cup has begun, your Milwaukee Panthers won the tournament for the first time. We faced University of Washington today, winning 2-1, resulting in defeating Marquette on goal goals scored and claiming the Milwaukee Cup title.
Although the game started off in their favor, Washington broke through scoring the first goal, we soon after regained our composer and were quickly back to playing Panther soccer. Erin Kreuser, the fastest kid I know, broke through their back line weaving in and out, beating at least three people, passed me the ball about four yards out giving me no where to go but to kick the ball in the goal. Tie game and we have the momentum.
Kreuser, deservingly, named the tournament's offensive MVP was the beginning of the game-winning goal as well. Again, beating their backline, she slipped a ball the Freshman Nicole Sperl putting her in on a break away to give us the victory.
It was an exciting weekend, winning the tournament, and like always gaining more experience and trying to work out all those kinks. Defensively we lost our two starting center backs from last year and those are two larger roles to fill. However, I am not worried because we easily have the personal to create a great team, filling every position with no weak spots and much depth off the bench. Then if the time does come where we slip up we, of course have Erin Kane to save our butts, and save is right. Watching some of the sick saves that she racks up consistently is just as exciting as watching Kreuser tear apart a back line, or Teegarden use her go-go gadget legs and strip any player that takes her on 1v1. I can't wait to see how this season plays out!
Next stop is Madison Invitational where we will face a strong team from the east coast, Boston University and one from the west, UC Santa Barbara. Hopefully see you there!
August 16th- Welcome Week
Welcome Parents, Family, Fans and any others interested in the UWM women's soccer team. I am here to fill you in on all the important events within and around our team. Such as the roadtrip stories, game recaps and anything else enticing that I can provide. Hopefully I can be of help to all of you to bring you the information you are looking for in a most captivating and enjoyable way without crossing over to being cheesy, even though this is Wisconsin! So jump in and enjoy!
August 24th- Let it Rain at our Alumni game
Exhibition games, the time to gain that experience and attempt to work out all the kinks. We are just getting into our second weekend of playing, coming off a good game in Illinois State the weekend before, winning 3-0, and or looking for some more action. To start it off we have our Alumni game, which is always fun to see familiar faces and have some friendly competition.
Though, after the driest summer in Wisconsin ever, in my opinion, the weather decided to change earlier in the week and become a monsoon state. So, we were facing the risk of too much rain and cancellation of the game. So with anticipation built up, we were left to sit and wait.
Luckily the sun decided to shine that day and dry to field out enough that Englemann field would be able to handle a short game. So our freshman and a few returners took the field as well as the Alumni got a chance to step out underneath our new lights and relive their glory days.
Reliving their glory days was right. Within the first ten minutes Amy McManigal (Oechsner) broke through our young backline and slipped a well-placed shot near post putting the Alumni up 1-0. At this point the rain started to come and so did our attack. We started to get numbers forward and about 25 minutes later Senior Pam Shipway slipped a cross through the box to freshman Sarah Talbert who put the ball in to tie the score 1-1.
The rain now coming down harder caused the game to be called after 40 minutes and the soaked fans, players, alumni and supports to head inside to change and eat the food that our parents put together for all of us.
Although it wasn't a full game, it was a chance to get to play on Englemann Field under the lights, spend time with our supporters, and send us off to our game on Sunday against No. 20 University of Illinois.
August 26th- Big Bad Number 20, U of Illinois
"Last season we faced bigger and higher-ranked teams, and showed everyone we can not only maintain play with/measure up to the quality of the top teams in the country, but the raise that level and dominate within games with these teams."
To quickly recap on what I strongly am talking about: University of Portland, returning national champs, we led for 60 minutes of the game 2-1; Mizzou, ranked 11th, we beat 1-0; Marquette, ranked top 10 most of last season, we topped 2-0 on their own field; and U of Notre Dame, who after a shaky first 10 minutes we then put them on their heels and dominated the midfield for the remainder of the game. They narrowly got by with a 1-0 win. So we can, not only handle playing with these top teams, but I believe we should be one of them.
Anyways back to U of I, our bus pulled in and we got ready for game time. Most everyone is full health for the game, but unfortunately short one of our feisty outside backs, sophomore Kayla Dejardin, and then one of my personal heroes, junior Sarah Teegarden.
Kick off time. Our kick, and we start off pretty quick and get the first shot off, freshman Nicole Hirsch had a side volley which their keeper saves. The game moves much quicker, it's a nice reminder for the returnees and good exposure for the newbies to the upper level play of Division I soccer.
Around 10 minutes in, freshman Heather Roadhouse goes in for a great tackle and their unsuspecting player goes down, who happened to be the Big Ten Player of the Year last year. This riles them up and resulted in one of their quick and little forwards getting in behind our defense and finished a break away far post putting them up 1-0.
The game continued to be quick as we tried to put our forwards in behind their high holding line, as well as expose the flank spaces since they don't play with wide midfielders. Though even with these attempts we didn't manage to score. For most of the game they commanded the air within midfield finding it hard for us to remain in possession much in the attacking third as well as our supporting runs were a little late. So we may walk away with the loss, but gain much from the game. Playing a good team makes the areas you need to work on stand out and now we know what to focus on for the week of practice leading into the Milwaukee Cup.
We boarded the bus back home knowing the stuff we need to work on and are looking forward to two home games on Englemann and hopefully seeing all of you in the stands!