Although the Wisconsin women's soccer team went winless against a pair of unranked teams this weekend, University of Wisconsin head coach Dean Duerst thinks the team played great.
The Badgers lost in overtime to Illinois Sunday and tied Iowa Friday. Despite a poor start against the Illini, Duerst's admits his team should have won.
"We played great, actually," Duerst said. "We played our worst half of soccer all season in the first half against Illinois. Conditions on the field were just miserable and the wind was a factor, and they scored two goals first 15 [minutes], second half we scored two goals the first 15[minutes].
"It's a game we should have won," he continued. "You look at should-haves, it's how this team handles that and I think they're experienced, they know what to expect … We have played excellent soccer and from a coaching standpoint, we've got it going and now we just need to … move forward, get better, keep improving because we know how critical your last ten games make your season."
Seniors Amy Vermeulen and Marisa Brown and juniors Kara Kabellis and Allison Priess each scored goals for the Badgers over the weekend.
Vermeulen leads the Badgers in goals with five goals. Both Priess and Vermeulen lead the team with 10 points apiece.
With four upperclassmen leading the way for the Badgers, Duerst expects his team to continue to improve with each game.
"Our team is very balanced right now in our scoring, which is what a coach always wants," Duerst said. "We've got numerous players getting points for us … We have an experienced group of players.
Tiffany Weimer: Wisconsin's match-up against No. 2 Penn State might be the team's most crucial game of the season. The Badgers have already lost one match to a top-10 team, No. 3 Portland.
The Badgers saw a more complete and talented team when they played Portland. However, Penn State is a different team and is led by only one player, Tiffany Weimer.
"Portland this year obviously opened our eyes in a different way," Duerst said. "But with Penn State, they're a team we can beat. We've had success against them so that's important going into the match … Penn State has one incredible player (Weimer) and a very, very athletic, solid team behind them. I think Portland is a team with overall a much better soccer team. The thing is Penn State is more athletic and more physical and that's part of the way our conference is."
Weimer has already scored 15 goals in only 10 games for the Nittany Lions. She is just eight goals shy of Christie Welsh's Big Ten record of 82 career goals and has scored in all 10 games for Penn State.
Weimer helped lead Penn State to a double-win weekend against Indiana and Purdue. The Nittany Lions creamed the Hoosiers 2-0 and beat the Boilermakers 3-2 in overtime.
"Penn State offers just a great challenge," Duerst said. "They're 10-0. They're No. 2 in the country. We played Portland, No. 3 in the country, so it's going to be a great game."
Penn State leads the all-time series with Wisconsin, 11-1-3. The Badgers' only win against Penn State was 10 years ago when UW beat Penn State 1-0. Last year, the Badgers lost 4-0 to the Nittany Lions. Two years ago, Wisconsin tied Penn State 0-0.
Border Battle: The Badgers will return home this weekend to face border-rival Minnesota and No. 2 Penn State.
Penn State leads the Big Ten with 10 consecutive wins while Minnesota is currently ranked No. 6 in the Big Ten with five wins.
"It's just going to be a great weekend because this Border Battle is starting to really grow with our team," Duerst said.
Wisconsin took the early lead in the second annual Border Battle when the No. 10 Wisconsin volleyball team upended the No. 5 Golden Gophers Friday night.
The women's soccer team will look to avenge last year's 2-1 loss to the Gophers at the McClimon Soccer Complex.