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The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

The student news source of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

The Racquet Press

UWL Women’s soccer continues to soar as Eagles defeat Platteville 2-0

Cody Depies
UWL Women’s Soccer Game. Defender Alexis McMahon. Photo taken by Cody Depies.

The University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Women’s soccer team became 10-1 overall and 2-0 in the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (WIAC) after defeating the UW – Platteville Pioneers on Oct. 4.

By the first half of Wednesday night’s game, the UWL Women’s Soccer team was 2-0 on goals from Ainsley Allen and Maggie Hernandez. The Eagles outshot the Pioneers, 25-8. Seven of the 25 shots were on goal.

It was another dominant performance for a team that has allowed only five goals in 11 matches, marking the fifth shutout of the season for Sophia Anger.

“We did a good job maintaining the ball in the middle third and then going into the final third. We kept the ball in our attacking half a lot of the game. It made our lives a lot easier,” said UWL head coach, Jason Murphy. “Defensively, we were really organized, even when we had the ball. When they would clear it, we would pick up the pieces and then go right back at them.”

Senior Captain and Forward Ainsley Allan explained what preparation the team did before the game against UW-Platteville. She said, “We did some scouting because [UW- Platteville] plays a little bit different than some other teams. We didn’t necessarily change how we play. We just changed some of our tactics and what we wanted to do. I think we executed that pretty well.”

The Eagles are used to success in recent years, as they have qualified for the NCAA tournament in 5 out of the 9 seasons with Murphy at the helm. They have also made four out of the last five Sweet 16’s. With recent success, comes expectations.

“We understand we have a huge target on our back, being ranked tenth in the nation and winning conference last year,” said Allan. “We kinda just leave that behind and play our game. We bring what we have and just bring our best.”

Murphy attributes a lot of the team’s success to their maturity and the culture that has been built. “This team understands their ability to play and how they have to play. They do a really good job of training at a high level consistently, which I think is really important. He continued, “The players have created an environment that allows it to be welcoming, very competitive, very challenging, but enjoyable and fun. Many of them will tell you that the best part of their day, every day, is coming to soccer.”

“Because of the maturity of our team and the quality of our leadership, our team is almost more self-lead than coach-lead,” said Murphy. He explained that before the coaching staff gets involved in situations, solutions have already been made. “It allows for our coaches to just coach and build relationships. Our leadership has been a blessing.”

Allan also elaborated on the culture of the team. She said, “Everyone works extremely hard. Everyone is really supportive of everyone else. We just connect and bond, I think a lot better than most other teams do.”

In addition to the culture, there were other mentions of strengths of the team. “Our bench is very deep. Most of our team plays every single game,” said Allan.

There are three returning All-Americans on the roster: Ainsley Allen, Midfielder Ellie Arndt, and Left Back Alexis McMahon.

In addition to the All-Americans, Murphy gives a lot of credit to the team’s Center Backs, Jenna Nichols and Addie Pauling.

“They’ve been so consistent and reliable in the back. They’ve kept us organized. I can’t say enough about the strength and the confidence they’ve given us. It’s allowed us to do what we want,” said Murphy.

The maturity, experience level, and quality of leadership on the team has many believing this team has the chance to do something special. The team lost last year in the National Quarterfinals in a shootout with Wesleyan (Virginia), leaving their head coach feeling like more is possible.

“We were the better team,” said Murphy on the close loss. “We played really well. They had a goalkeeper who made a couple of nice saves, and they capitalized on the few chances we gave them. That’s the reality of two good soccer teams playing against each other. The margins are so thin.”

Even after the hot start to the season, Murphy has his eyes set on the future for the team.

“I’m really happy about the progress we’ve continued to make. I’m very excited about this group. I think they can take another step forward.”

If you are interested in watching the UWL Women’s soccer team, you can catch them this Saturday, Oct. 7, when they host UW-Whitewater at 2 p.m. You can also follow the team on Instagram @uwl_soccer.

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