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Women’s soccer aims for future wins

September 29, 2007

After going 10-7-2 overall last season while advancing to the WIAC semifinals, the Falcon women’s soccer team has gotten off to a rough start in the first month.
As of Sept. 24, they are 1-6-1. 

“We’re in a rut right now,” junior forward Dianna Hermes said in a telephone interview. “We haven’t yet come together as a team.”

The Falcons lost their three leading scorers from last year, Ashley Peterson, Kim Saufl and Amy Jensen.

“I think our record reflects [the loss of Peterson, Saufl and Jensen]. For four years we knew who we wanted to give the ball to,” head coach Sean McKuras said.

All three of those players graduated.

“They are huge shoes to fill. I want to be able to step up and be a leader,” Hermes, who is helping to fill the vacancies they left, said.

The Falcons started the season with a 2-0 victory over Northland College Aug. 31. Senior midfielder Julie Sperstad scored the first goal with an assist to Hermes, and almost exactly six minutes later, Hermes scored with an assist going to freshman midfielder Megan Church.

That was more than enough for goalies Emily Stieler and Andrea Dudley who shutout the Northland offense.

“The biggest issue is confidence in themselves,” McKuras said. “This is a special group of young women; I just need them to believe it a little bit more.”

Since the Falcons strong start, though, they have lost six of seven, including five in a row. They fell 2-1 to St. Scholastica, 3-1 to Macalester College, 1-0 to Carleton College, 3-1 to Loras College and 2-1 to UW-La Crosse.

“The first couple losses we weren’t playing as a team,” said Hermes. “One breakdown led to another.”

Stieler said in a telephone interview that the team needs to “work on our passing and getting everyone at the right place at the right time.”

On Sept. 22 the Falcons broke their losing streak when they went into overtime vs. UW-Whitewater in a game that ended in a 1-1 tie. Whitewater scored first at 22:45 with a goal by Mary Donohoo, her sixth of the season. Freshman Anna Gutknecht scored her first goal of the season for the Falcons at 57:22 to tie it at 1-1. The game went into double overtime, but neither team was able to score again.

The Sept. 23 game vs. the College of St. Benedict brought the Falcons their sixth loss of the season. They were held scoreless by the Blazers and the game ended with a final score of 2-0. St. Benedict forward Tina Lisk scored both goals, one in each half.

The team is still optimistic about the future of the season. 

“We definitely haven’t hit our peak yet,” Hermes said. “We’ve been coming together really well. Even with losses, I’ve still been happy with our performances.”
“We have a new defense system that we’ve been doing really well with.,” Stieler said.

The team has a “solid attack,” McKuras said. “I expect to get on the road to peaking very soon. Once we pick up a win I think it’ll keep going. [The team] is capable of more than they’ve shown so far.” 

The Falcons play next game is at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 1, at Augsburg College.