Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


UW women’s soccer to battle Illinois

Wisconsin women’s soccer has a simple approach to this upcoming weekend’s matches: exploit the opponent’s weaknesses while covering up its own. It’s an accomplishment that could lead to two victories, which are much needed at this early stage in conference action.

The seventh-place Badgers (4-5-2, 1-2-1 Big Ten) will be traveling on the road to battle Illinois (5-5, 1-2 Big Ten) and Iowa (5-4, 0-3 Big Ten).

Illinois, which is undefeated at home, is looking to go above the .500 mark for the first time all season, while Iowa is just looking to get its first Big Ten win and climb out of the conference cellar.

Despite the two-game slate scheduled, UW is choosing first to focus on the Illini before looking toward the Hawkeyes.

“Our main focus is Illinois; we don’t consider Iowa at all,” UW head coach Dean Duerst said. “Typically, that’s the way to approach this. Illinois has shown the ability to get beat, and they have certain weaknesses that we hope to exploit — which is what we have been practicing while we are just trying to build off of last weekend’s performance.”

Last weekend, the Badgers lost to No. 14 Michigan 2-3 and dominated Michigan State 3-1.

Throughout the weekend, the Badgers felt they played extremely well and demonstrated their ability by breaking through the defenses to tally five goals. This is the first time UW has scored multiple goals twice in a weekend.

Wisconsin won’t dwell on the success, though. Rather, the Badgers will look to continue it.

Junior Jenny Kundert had a huge part in the Badgers’ success last weekend as she scored seven points on the weekend with three goals and one assist.

The midfielder has been the most potent offensive threat this season, leading the team with 15 points off five goals and five assists. Trailing Kundert in points is sophomore midfielder Sarah Capel with eight points on three goals and two assists.

On the other side of the ball, senior co-captain Kelly Conway anchors the defense. At goalkeeper, Conway has allowed only 13 goals and notched 39 saves. Fending off most of the shots on goal have been defenders Elly Patterson and Brooke Vanderby. Opponents have attempted 117 shots, compared to UW’s 136.

UW will have to make some important adjustments, such as watching out for Illinois’s impressive speed and taking advantage of the fact that Illinois has allowed 15 goals so far this season.

Many of those goals can be attributed to the three-defender setup the Illini use. Illinois also tends to leave ample space behind the midfielders to help create scoring opportunities.

After giving up counterattacks twice last weekend, allowing breakaways, and giving up a hat trick to Michigan, UW will be working on the consistency to prevent offensive opportunities.

“We have to be smarter defensively and make better adjustments against players that have very good speed,” Duerst said. “We had two or three good chances (last weekend) that just didn’t go in the back of the net, yet the players were right there. We have to replicate those offensive moments.”

Speeding things up for Illinois are Tara Hurless, who has seven goals and one assist. Back in the net will be Leisha Alcia, who took a short break from the team to participate with the Canadian National Team. Alcia has allowed 13 goals and snagged 34 saves. Replacing Alcia was Rachel Frank, who allowed two goals and recorded 14 saves while compiling a 3-0 record.

On the Iowa side, it’s no surprise that senior forward Sarah Lynch leads the Hawkeyes. Lynch has broken almost every Hawkeye record in her three-plus years.

She is the career leader in goals, points, game-winning goals, and shots. So far this season she has three goals and one assist, behind point leader Katelyn Quinn, who has notched five goals and one assist.

After not making the Big Ten tournament for the first time last year, the Badgers hope to move one step closer to their preseason goal of being conference champions. These next two games will be pivotal steps for the team.

“We’re a confident team right now,” Duerst said. “We just need to show what we’re all about.”

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