Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Advertisements
Advertisements

UW focuses on offense at home

WS_No00_GED
Goaltender Michele Dalton and the Badger defense hope to continue their shutout streak in Madison.[/media-credit]

Following a tough 1-0 loss to Tennessee on a neutral field in Minnesota, the Wisconsin Badgers return to action Friday, hosting North Dakota State at the McClimon Soccer Complex.

And though the Stanford Tournament and the start of conference play are looming in the near future, Wisconsin head coach Paula Wilkins and the rest of the Badgers remain focused on the team’s upcoming home games against North Dakota State and DePaul this week.

“We’re worried about the North Dakota State game [before the Stanford Tournament],” she said. “That’s our prime focus. Obviously, coming off the loss from Tennessee, we want to refocus the players.”

Advertisements

Four words, stated by Badgers junior goalkeeper Michele Dalton, sum up the excitement felt by the women’s soccer team this season. Though the team is 2-2-1 through five games, the defense has smothered opponents.

“The sky’s the limit,” she said.

After a 3-0 loss to Notre Dame to open the season, the Badgers held opponents scoreless over a 327-minute streak before giving up the sole goal early in their loss to Tennessee.

Wilkins attributes her team’s defensive success to organization.

“I think there’s been great leadership in the back; it’s always a team effort,” she said. “They have great communication and chemistry with one another.”

Dalton echoed her coach’s sentiments.

“We all work as a cohesive unit back there, and that’s the bottom line,” said Dalton. “We communicate well and play well together.”

Although the Badgers have proven to be resilient defensively, offensive firepower has been sparse thus far. Through five games, the team has totaled just two goals despite outshooting its opponents 75-52.

The Badgers have also attempted 46 corner kicks this season while conceding just 13. Against UW-Green Bay, UW set an NCAA record by taking 23 corners.

With two non-conference games remaining before a trip to California to take on Santa Clara and No. 3 Stanford — followed by the start of conference competition — the Badgers know they must start capitalizing on their chances.

“(We need to improve on) finishing our opportunities,” Wilkins said. “We’ve outshot every team except Notre Dame, and we haven’t gotten enough results scoring goals. That’s a mentality we have to create.”

Freshman midfielder Alev Kelter also sees the lack of offensive prowess standing in the way of what could be a successful season.

“We’re capable of accomplishing so many things,” she said. “(We need to work on) finishing. We’re a solid defending team — we just need to put the ball in the net more.”

Kelter is one of 12 incoming freshmen on the team, and Wilkins has high hopes for the class of 2013.

“They add a bunch of different elements that we didn’t have,” Wilkins said. “They’re contributing on and off the field, not only with their personalities but their mentalities and their attitude. I think it’s a good class moving forward; they get better and better each game.”

Kelter — who, along with her twin sister Derya, signed on to play both soccer and ice hockey at UW — has started all five games so far and is tied for second on the team in shots with 13, including four on goal.

Another promising freshman has been Monica Lam-Feist, who comes to Madison from Surrey, British Columbia, where she was named the U17 Canadian Player of the Year in both 2007 and 2008. Lam-Feist has started all five games so far this season and has logged 479 minutes, the fourth most on the team.

The Badgers will begin conference play on Sept. 25 against Purdue at the McClimon Soccer Complex with hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament. Wilkins has seen her win total improve in each of her first two seasons at the helm, and an improvement upon last year’s 9-9-1 record could be enough to slate the Badgers in the NCAA Tournament for the first time since coming to Wisconsin.

Dalton is optimistic that the element of surprise could work in UW’s favor.

“The major advantage we have is that teams aren’t expecting what we have to bring to them,” Dalton said. “Hopefully, they’ll be taken off guard by what we have to offer.”

Advertisements
Leave a Comment
Donate to The Badger Herald

Your donation will support the student journalists of University of Wisconsin-Madison. Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Badger Herald

Comments (0)

All The Badger Herald Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *