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Peterson’s leadership paves way for Falcons

October 12, 2006

This week, UW-River Falls senior Ashley Peterson was bestowed with a great honor.

Peterson, a soccer player from Forest Lake, Minn., was named WIAC Player of the Week. It wasn’t the only award Peterson received for her efforts during that week. She was also named to D3kicks.com’s soccer team of the week.

It is Peterson’s second time this season being named the WIAC Player of the Week.

In two games, Peterson scored three goals and picked up three assists to lead the team with six points in the games.

The six points have helped Peterson take the lead in team scoring, with 12 goals and 33 points. The closest player to Peterson is fellow senior Kim Saufl who has eight goals and 22 points.

Peterson has played soccer since she was five, and she is in her fourth season playing in the Falcon uniform. She has also coached a little bit, and some day the Health and Human Performance major would like to get more into coaching.

“I want to work with younger kids,” Peterson said. “At a young age kids like to listen better and they’re more fun to watch.”

Peterson will graduate in May 2007.

Now as one of three seniors on the Falcon team, Peterson is a leader.

“I like to lead by example,” Peterson said. “I learn from the girls every day.”

This season, Peterson said the Falcon team is different than any other team she’s been on. Besides playing soccer in high school, she also ran track.

“We’re all just really good friends,” Peterson said of her Falcon teammates. “We mesh really well together.”

“Ashley does a lot for the team. She is humble about how things are going for her,” junior Amy Piersak said. “She is quiet but she can get the team fired up to just get out there and do what we can…and that’s win.”

Throughout her years in the Falcon program, there have been a number of ups and downs.

Last season, the team lost in the WIAC Playoff Semifinals to UW-Eau Claire. But when Peterson was a freshman, the team won WIAC, which she said was one of her greatest moments with the group.

This season the team has potential to win WIAC again. The Falcons currently have a record of 7-2-2 (4-1-1).

“We have some tough games coming up with Stevens Point, Eau Claire and LaCrosse,” Peterson said. “They’re really important games in conference. Eau Claire is a big game. We haven’t lost in conference.”

Head Coach Sean McKuras and Assistant Coach Ben Gaddis have been instrumental in Peterson’s success at River Falls.

“He’s been here all four years,” Peterson said of McKuras. “They do a very good job of coaching. They know what they’re talking about and they give us a plan to win.”
McKuras thinks very highly of Peterson as well.

“Ashley fulfills her role as a senior captain in several different ways. Ashley has always been a leader by example.,” McKuras. “Over her career she has developed as a vocal leader and a teacher of the game.”

Peterson aids those around her.

“I loved playing defense with her because she is so calm. Her movements and her body language are very calm and just there, whereas I am always in high speed and wanting to get the ball out of my end.” Piersak said. “She always held the team together through the back of field and now she is leading our team up front.”

Peterson also likes to play tennis and spend time with friends, family and boyfriend.

The Falcons’ next game is at UW-Stevens Point on Saturday at 2 p.m.