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For the first time this season, the Badgers head outside the state of Wisconsin as they travel to Bloomington, Ind., this weekend for the Hoosier Classic.
Wisconsin (2-1) will begin Friday at Armstrong Stadium with Cal Poly (1-3) and finish Sunday against Vermont (1-2).
The Mustangs of Cal Poly enter Friday’s game looking for their second consecutive win after starting the season 0-3. Vermont, on the other hand, enters the tournament following a 3-0 home loss to Villanova.
On the trip, the Badgers will look to extend their current two-game winning streak.
The team’s recent home stand saw three different players score goals as Wisconsin earned a 1-0 victory over UW-Green Bay and a 3-0 win against Western Michigan.
Freshmen Laurie Nosbusch and Erin Jacobsen each netted a goal against Western Michigan, while senior Taylor Walsh scored one in each game. In addition, senior goalkeeper Jamie Klages recorded five saves en route to earning a pair of shutouts.
While the Badgers hope to come away from the tournament with a pair of victories, they know that any result will prove beneficial to the team in the long – run.
“Playing in tournaments will help us prepare for the Big Ten tTtournament,” Klages said. “It also gives everyone — especially our younger players — that tournament experience they need.”
Senior Tricia Krombach also noted that finishing the weekend with a better result than Indiana would help Wisconsin in its NCAA tTtournament bid.
Beyond the final outcome, head coach Paula Wilkins’ goal for the team remains much the same as it has been through each of the first three games: steady improvement.
“We want to get better in each game,” Wilkins said. “I want us to progress from the Western Michigan game to the Cal Poly game and from that game to the Vermont game.”
Of course, Wilkins made sure to note that the final score also is important to her team.
“We need to make progress, but want to win, too,” Wilkins said. “This game is about winning and that’s what we want to do –, we want to win.”
As the Badgers look to improve upon the season’s first three games, a lot ofmuch focus has been on organizational issues such as one-on-one defending, keeping possession and creating more opportunities offensively.
Of the issues, keeping possession is something the Badgers believe will prove essential to their success over the weekend.
“We need to stay focused, work hard and connect passes,” Krombach said. “It’s one thing if you win the ball, but we’ve got to be able to keep it. We can’t be chasing teams around. If we do that, we will wear ourselves out.”
For The Wisconsin, team’s its youth presents a unique challenge and opportunity this weekend.
“I think the challenge this weekend is that we have two games on a weekend,” Wilkins said. “It’s the first time [this season] that we’ve had to deal with that.”
In dealing with their its first tournament of the season, Wisconsin will need strong encouragement and leadership from its seniors in order to stay focused and prepare for two games.
“It’s going to take a lot of pressure from our older players to remind the freshmen to stay off their feet on Saturday and get some rest,” Krombach said. “Their bodies will take a toll, and they’ll need to stay hydrated, but I think we’ll be fine.”
After winning a pair of home games, the Badgers are confident that the results of this weekend’s games will be much better than its their previous game away from home — a 3-0 loss to UW-Milwaukee.
“After playing two more games and earning two more wins, our confidence has gone up considerably,” Klages said. “With such a young team, every little bit counts, so having two more games under our belts should help.”