The Big Ten’s opening weekend didn’t go as planned for the Wisconsin women’s soccer squad. The Badgers (3-3-1 overall, 0-2 conference) came into the weekend ranked No. 23 but fell to both teams from Indiana, failing to score during the weekend.
Yesterday UW played Indiana (4-1-1, 1-0-1) in harsh weather conditions only to fall in a hard-fought battle, 1-0. The Badgers dominated most of the game, but the Hoosiers chalked up the lone goal with a mere four minutes remaining.
The blanking marked the fourth time Indiana has shutout an opponent this year.
“Our players need to keep their heads up because we’re a good team and we’re playing well,” UW’s head coach Dean Duerst said. “We need to continue to play our team game right now.”
The Badgers managed to fire seven more shots on goal than IU but could not find the formula for cracking Hoosier goalie Shaunna Daugherty.
“They were pressuring us but just could not finish,” said IU head coach Joe
Kelley. “Getting this (game) was huge. A lot of credit goes to our defense.”
IU forward Shelly Gruszka bagged the game winner with a low shot to the left that snuck past UW goalie Kelly Conway in the 86th minute.
“I didn’t even really see the ball coming in to me, but everything worked out and I was able to finish,” said Gruszka.
Friday afternoon the Badgers could not get into their game flow before Purdue (4-3-0, 1-1) netted two goals within the first 13 minutes of play.
“We were not together in the beginning [against Purdue],” Duerst said. “A quick goal will give a team momentum, and it deflated us to some extent.”
UW succumbed to Purdue, 3-0, allowing all three goals in the first half. Purdue was able to rebound from a loss to Oakland on Tuesday and begin their Big Ten season undefeated.
“I thought today was a great team performance to open the Big Ten season,” said Purdue head coach Rob Klatte. “We were able to have quality finishes from several players in the first half; the shutout win proves that that’s what happens when we finish our chances.”
Despite holding an advantage in shots on goal, 21-10, UW could not find the back of the net. The shutout was the second of Purdue keeper Jocelyn Cavalier’s young season.
“Cavalier made a couple of great saves in the second half when she needed to,” said Klatte. “We did a good job of being organized defensively, and we eliminated chances for them to score, especially in the first half.”
The Badgers’ schedule does not grow any easier this weekend with two road games against Michigan and Michigan State.
“We need to have some confidence going in,” said Duerst. “What we can do is control our thoughts and our confidence. We need to focus in training and we need to be able to rebound; that’s what we can control.”