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UWRF women’s soccer strikes back after slow start

October 5, 2016

The UWRF Women’s Soccer team went on a tear last week, winning their first three games of the season and building some major momentum as WIAC play begins.

The Falcons started their season off 0-5-1 as they traveled to Winona to take on St. Mary’s University on Sept. 21. This would begin a week and a half of strong and impressive play from the young Falcon squad as they took down St. Mary’s, Minnesota Morris and St. Scholastica consecutively and showed serious promise along the way.

Head Coach Sean McKuras said he believes that the Falcons’ strength of schedule in the early part of the season has paved way for their recent success.

“My view is that preseason and nonconference play gets you ready to compete in one of the toughest conferences in the country and that’s what our nonconference play has done for us. We’re putting things together and playing as a team so I think the results will start to come,” McKuras said.

The results began with the Falcons topping St. Mary’s 1-0 on a clutch goal from Carrie Anderson in overtime to put the Falcons in the win column. They continued their winning ways by taking down Minnesota Morris 2-1 on homecoming weekend and outshot the Cougars by an incredible 48-3 margin. Carrie Anderson added her second goal of the season and Lindsey Jack scored a goal in the 87th minute to give the Falcons confidence heading into a clash with St. Scholastica.

The Falcons also managed to dominate the St. Scholastica Saints in a 4-0 thumping that let the Falcons retain the Chalice Trophy. The Chalice is a traveling trophy that is awarded to the winner of the St. Scholastica and UWRF match. The two teams started playing for the Border Battle Chalice Trophy in 2009 and the Falcons won it in 2010, 2012, 2014, 2015 and 2016, according to uwrfsports.com.

“[St. Scholastica] is a team we’ve played for a long time and we always seem to have tough games with them. We’ve had a lot of overtimes and one goal losses and one goal wins.  We’ve just happened to have a couple of good years having the cup three years in a row,” McKuras said.

Carrie Anderson, Abby Soderholm and Rachel Windingstad all added goals for the Falcons to contribute to the 4-0 victory. UWRF dominated the stat sheet by outshooting the Saints 22-4 and only allowing one shot in the first half.

McKuras also said he believes his team has been very strong mentally this season and keeps fighting until the end of the game no matter what position they’re in. However, the team still has areas to improve upon as they enter WIAC play.

“We’ve been in quite a few tight games this year but now it’s a matter of getting a result.  What I mean by that is whether it be a win or a tie or pushing a team into overtime, can we get the result based on our tough play,” McKuras said.

The Falcons fell in one of these tight games to UW-Oshkosh 2-1 this past weekend on the road. And while this loss in their WIAC opener may have ended the win streak, the Falcons are still looking to be a strong contender as the WIAC season continues.

“I liked that we attacked and defended as a team and created some great opportunities. The reality in those tight games is it will take a couple of special plays, and that’s gonna be the difference in finishing in the top half or bottom half of the WIAC,” McKuras said.

The Falcons have high hopes of finishing strong in conference and making a run in the WIAC playoffs.  Their journey continues Saturday as they travel to UW-La Crosse to take on the Eagles at 4 p.m.