Badgers down Panthers in exhibition

first_imgAlthough it is only the first weekend of April, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team looks to be getting close to where it left off last season, in which it won the Big Ten tournament title and advanced to the NCAA tournament.In Saturday’s exhibition game against UW-Milwaukee, the Badgers got goals from senior captain Kara Kabellis and assistant captain Allison Preiss and shutout the Panthers 2-0 at the McClain Center.With the score tied at zero to start the second half, it was the Badger veterans who put Wisconsin on the scoreboard. Off one of Wisconsin’s set inbounds plays, Kara Kabellis was able to beat the UWM goalie on the far right side to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead just minutes into the second frame.Wisconsin added its second goal of the game when Preiss was able to control a deflection and kick the ball with the outside of her foot around one of the Panther defenders.Preiss proceeded to beat the defender and knock the ball past the UWM goalie for a 2-0 Wisconsin lead and the eventual exhibition victory.”The first half we were a little shaky, and we were able to put some things together in the second half,” Kabellis said.Although Wisconsin lost three of their top offensive performers from last season — Marisa Brown, Katy Lindenmuth and Amy Vermeulen — to graduation, the players on the Wisconsin team remain confident that they will be a better offensive club than last season, with a powerful group of redshirt freshmen starting to work their way into the rotation.”I think the scoring will be more dispersed [than last year] because we have a lot more people that can score this year,” Kabellis said. “The scoring won’t be just concentrated on one or two people because you can count on more than just one person. [Offensively] we are learning on how to play with each other, which is going to take a little time.”[But] we are building up for next fall pretty well.””We missed one or two golden chances in the first half,” head coach Dean Duerst said. “We are just trying to give them more options offensively. We need creativity, and we started to see that in the second half as well.”It wasn’t like we were playing poorly; we just weren’t playing up to our standard and our ability of moving the ball around effectively. All that opened up for us in the second half.”The big concern for Wisconsin this spring and heading into next season is the defensive backfield.Against UWM, however, the defense looked crisp and played strong as a unit, giving up no goals and stymieing some abundant Panther scoring chances. It was a good showing for the defense against UWM, as the Panthers are known for being very organized offensively and putting pressure on their opponents.”We knew UWM would offer us some test to our back line,” Duerst said. “At times, we actually created our own problems by wanting to play too much. … We want to grow, and part of that philosophy is just take small steps.”You want to really get better, but it’s got to come with some learning, patience and testing. As coaches, we really have to teach more in the spring because we have more time.”One of the key players in Wisconsin’s exhibition victory was the play of junior goalie Lynn Murray. Coming off a season in which she won 13 games and allowed only 1.11 goals per game, Murray looked to be in mid-season form. She stopped everything that came her way by deflecting scoring chances and maintaining communication with her defenders.For Murray, the spring games are a chance to get back into the game routine, despite not starting the non-conference season for another five months.”It’s a lot more fun when you aren’t running fitness tests everyday and you get to play some games,” Murray said. “Practice is more like practice instead of just running yourself into the ground all the time. It’s a lot better to get out there and play, and you remember why you play. It makes it a lot easier on your body, and you are a lot more motivated.”For the upcoming 2006 season, the Wisconsin coaching staff announced that, in addition to their two captains, the team would be adding two assistant captains for the duration of the season.Kabellis and fellow senior Stefani Szczechowski will serve as the captains for the team, and seniors Natalie Horner and Allison Preiss will serve as the assistant captains.”It feels great to be a captain,” Szczechowski said. “I think the younger players look up to me. It is just an odd role because I don’t always get a lot of minutes [on the field]. I feel like, most of the time, Kara is going to be the leader on the field, and I am going to be more of a moral leader, keeping the spirits high on the bench.”By expanding the number of captains on the team, Duerst hopes to provide more examples of leadership to his younger players. With nine redshirt freshmen and six recruits vying for playing time in September, the Badger coaching staff hopes to have the four captains lead by example on and off the field.”It’s been what we have expected with our senior class stepping forward and taking some of the responsibility and leadership,” Duerst said. “With having four captains, the team then has four players they can go to. The coaching staff will really connect with the captains, but Horner and Preiss are still going to play a leadership role, which is good for the team.”last_img

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