Not a single yellow or red card was awarded when the Wisconsin women’s soccer team unofficially began its season on Aug. 26, but the courteous behavior could have had something to do with their opponent — themselves.
Team Bucky White, consisting of mainly starters, took on team Badger Red, made up of mostly underclassmen, in a team scrimmage at McClimon Soccer Complex. The veteran White team blanketed the Red to a 3-0 victory. En route to its trio of goals, the White squad dominated the game offensively, tallying eight more shots on goal than the Red team.
“I’m happy with [the practice],” UW head coach Dean Duerst said following the scrimmage. “I think it gives us another great picture of how we’re playing as a team. We definitely need to clean up defensively and sharpen up the speed we play at.”
Within the first 10 minutes, the game saw White forward Lauren Schmidt nearly score a goal, only to watch it bounce off the crossbar. The Red team replied with their own near-miss when freshman forward Marla Froelich’s goal was erased by a called foul.
At the 35-minute mark, what appeared to be an incidental hands violation was called on the Red and set up a free kick just outside the goalie box for the White. Once again, Schmidt found herself in position to break the scoreless tie. This time she didn’t disappoint, placing the ball in the upper right-hand corner of the goal, over the outstretched arm of Red keeper Lisa Mattiacci.
Minutes later, Madison native and White senior forward Kelly Kundert added another goal. Kundert took the shot from a difficult angle in the right corner and hooked it into the top left corner for a 2-0 White lead three minutes before the half.
Duerst had plenty to observe during the scrimmage, including the play of his freshmen, who were experiencing their first game-type atmosphere.
“You expect some of your freshmen to be able to come in early and play right away,” Duerst said. “I think there will be some young people who will be counted on [this season].”
One freshman likely to make an impact this season is Amy Vermuelen.
In her Badger debut, Vermuelen was able to find the back of the net for the White team at the 75-minute mark by muscling her way down the middle of the goalie box. Her goal put the White team up by three goals for a final score of 3-0.
Not to be outdone by Froelich and Vermuelen, freshman defensive back Esther Schmidt (no relation to Lauren) was able to break up and clear multiple balls that came near her goal, cementing coach Duerst’s belief that his newcomers can be relied on.
“The most important aspect of this season will be to carry on the chemistry that was created last year,” Duerst said.
With the combination of new faces and seasoned veterans, Duerst’s goal should be within reach.