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Soccer team clinches playoff berth with two wins

October 31, 2014

The soccer season is coming to a close and the WIAC’s middle of the pack is coming to the finish line kicking and screaming.

UW-River Falls currently sits in third place at the moment, and have clinched a playoff spot with a 4-0 win over UW-Superior late Wednesday night. The Falcons could still finish as low as fourth. Head Coach Sean McKuras is aware of how unstable the conference standings are this time of the year.

“The middle is really tight. It’s going to be way up in the air,” McKuras said. “The middle is an absolute mess. The top six teams make it to the playoffs and it could fall in any direction.”

McKuras’ crew was on point on Saturday afternoon in its efforts to climb the WIAC standings.

The Falcons went to UW-Stevens Point for a conference match up on Saturday afternoon. Making shots count was the name of the game as the Falcons and Pointers combined for a total of 11 shots on goal for the game. The Falcons were the team that made its shots count, however.

The two schools played to a scoreless tie at the intermission, but it didn’t take long for that to change. Just five minutes into the second half, freshman midfielder Carrie Anderson put in a goal to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead. The goal was Anderson’s fifth of the season.

The Falcons did not get many shots off during the match. They only managed four shots total, three of which were on goal. Anderson accounted for three of the shots with freshman forward Kayla Windingstad accounting for the other shot.

Falcons sophomore goalkeeper Erica Cimochowski was kept busy, though. Cimochowski recorded eight saves on the game with the Pointers shooting 16 times in all.

Saturday wasn’t the only tight game that the Falcons played in the last week. On Wednesday, Oct. 22, the Falcons hosted St. Olaf College from Northfield, Minnesota.

The game was as tight as they come, as the Falcons and the Oles played to a 1-1 tie. Both goals in the game were scored in the first half of the game. The Oles kicked off the scoring right before the 32 minute mark when Emily Helle kicked in the only goal for the Oles.

The Falcons kicked in its goal just over two minutes before the intermission. Freshman midfielder Abby Solderholm put in her seventh goal of the year just before the 43 minute mark to tie the game up at one.

The Falcons got its shots off, but only the one could find the twine as UWRF outshot the Oles 17-12. Seven of those shots belonged to senior striker Alex Swatloski who currently has the second most goals (10) in the WIAC this season and the most game-winning goals in the conference with four.

Swatloski is feeling good about her team as it heads into the final game of the regular season and a potential third place finish.

“I feel really confident in what we are going to do,” Swatloski said. “I don’t think there is a team in the conference that could beat us right now.”

The next team that gets to challenge Swatloski’s statement is UWEau Claire on Saturday, Nov. 1, at 7 p.m. at Ramer Field. McKuras has a game plan for his team.

“Things I’d hope for are consistency and quick starts,” McKuras said. “I think we are so capable of getting out and putting teams under pressure early. You just see the differences in the games when we make the most of those opportunities.”

Those opportunities are coming to fruition more than they have in recent past.

“This is the most talented team I’ve played on in the last four years, by far,” Swatloski said.

The regular season might be closing but Swatloski said the team is still improving.

“I think we can only go up,” Swatloski said. “We’ve had our struggles, but we are a fantastic team.”