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Falcons soccer team off to another bad start

September 25, 2008

2008 has started eerily similar to last year for the UW-River Falls soccer team, posting a 1-7 record after a 2-14-3 finish last season.

“We are still learning how to win,” Falcon Head Coach Sean McKuras said. “We’re not where we need to be right now.”

The Falcons are in last place in the WIAC through three games with losses to UW-Stout, UW-Eau Claire and UW-La Crosse.

Eau Claire is the three-time defending WIAC champions and has not lost a conference game in the past three seasons. They are 1-0 in WIAC play this year. Through eight games, UWRF has been outscored 18-7 and averaging less than 10 shots a game. Opponents are attempting more than 15 shots a game on the Falcons.

“We have to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net,” McKuras said. “We are able to compete, but we have to finish.”

The season has started with stiff competition as UWRF has played against three conference champions. Eau Claire, the 2007 Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions Concordia College-Moorhead (Minn.) and the College of St. Scholastica, the 2007 Upper Midwest Athletic Conference champions.

The remaining schedule has no easy games, senior Amy Piersak said.

“There’s no give away game for us this year,” she said. “All games will be a challenge. No 12-0 games will happen this year.”

Of the 21 players on the Falcon roster, they have six freshmen and are one of the oldest teams in the conference, but are still at the bottom when it comes to wins and losses. UW-Superior has 14 freshmen and UW-Whitewater has 13, but are also at the bottom of the WIAC standings.

Last season UWRF finished seventh in the conference with only one win in conference play against Superior, who finished last with no wins in the WIAC.

“It’s been tough,” Piersak said. “Little things need to click like a clock. If one of the hands isn’t working, then it all falls apart.”

McKuras is in his seventh season as head coach and has not had a losing season until last year. The most wins the Falcons had since he has taken over was 17 in 2003, six of those coming in the WIAC, which was also good enough for the conference championship.

He had double digit wins from 2002-06.

There are eight regular season games left before the WIAC playoffs. The Falcons will need to find a way to shut down opponents and not let them score late in the game and put them away, McKuras said.

“We have not played poorly,” he said. “We do have to put away teams at the end of games if we want to get back on track.”

Piersak is playing her final season for the Falcons. She is a fifth year senior, given another year of eligibility after a knee injury and said she wants to end her career on a good note.

“I just want us to improve upon last year,” she said.

The Falcons’ next home game is Oct. 15 against Superior.