UW women’s soccer ready for 1st Big Ten road games

first_imgAfter splitting its first two Big Ten games at home last weekend, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team (4-3-2, 1-1-0 Big Ten) will travel to Ohio State and Minnesota for their first Big Ten road games of the season.Last weekend was a historic weekend for the program on numerous fronts. With their win over Iowa, the Badgers recorded their 300th victory in the program’s 25-year history.What was even more special for the team was winning its first Big Ten game in the opening weekend of conference play. Last season, the Badgers struggled mightily out of the conference gates, going winless in their first six Big Ten games.What was even more frustrating for Wisconsin was of those five games, the Badgers lost four by only a single goal, and the fifth game was a tie against Iowa.Now, Wisconsin finds itself in a tie for fifth place, but the Badgers aren’t jumping for joy yet. Their work is far from over, even though their conference start is better than those of years past.”We can’t get too complacent because of [our better conference start],” junior goalie Lynn Murray said. “We can’t be like, ‘We finally won a Big Ten game; the rest will all fall into place.’ We still have plenty of work to do.””The race is still open,” Badgers head coach Dean Duerst said. “You play with a lot more confidence late in the season, and there’s less pressure [to get in the tournament]. If we’re able to manage those two things and ride that momentum, the lucky bounces and the little things go your way because you’re making them happen.”Last year, we were desperate to win games and found a way through desperate times,” Duerst continued. “We don’t want to make that a habit.”In addition to the first conference win, the weekend’s special festivities were extended when a key part of the women’s team returned to action after more than a year on the shelf. In Wisconsin’s second game of the 2005 season at Kansas, then-junior Stacy Omundson went down with an apparent hip injury. Nobody would have guessed at the time the seriousness of her injury, but Omundson struggled to recover and ended up taking a medical redshirt last season.After an off-season surgery, hours of rehab and vast conditioning, Omundson returned to the field 456 days and 30 games later, resuming her role on defense against Illinois.”It’s been stressful, sitting out all last season not really knowing what was wrong,” Omundson said. “We finally figured out what was wrong, and I had surgery over the summer. I definitely had to work a lot harder than I thought [to get back] — getting back into shape, conditioning and all that stuff. I thought I could do it, and … it felt really good [being out there]. [Playing last weekend] was worth the journey to get back.”It was a lot of fun and I hope to stay out there.””[Having Stacy back] is big for us,” Duerst said. “She’s a calm, experienced player. She has very good speed, technique and is a good individual defender. Now, she’s trying to get herself right back into the team. The transition so far has been important, and she transitioned rather quickly from being cleared to being able to be utilized and get her some minutes. It’s nice seeing that confidence in her.”On the field Sunday, Murray turned in another solid performance — registering her second shutout in just her second start since returning from an injury she suffered in the season opener. In over 200 minutes on the field, Murray has allowed only one goal and has registered three saves.While she’s not exactly pleased with her play, Murray can’t argue with the result she and the rest of the team are getting.”I never think I play particularly well, but at the end of the day, it’s the result that matters,” Murray said. “It’s nice to be back out there and getting a little more confidence, which makes training better. I feel pretty good, so hopefully I’ll get another chance at it.”With the strength of Murray and the versatility of senior goalie Stefani Szczechowski, Duerst plans on using both goalies in different situations for the rest of the year. With two tough road tests coming up this weekend, the Badgers will need two special performances out of their goalies to move to 3-1 on the conference season.”We’ll keep looking at splitting [Steph and Lynn],” Duerst said. “We’ll also [look at] which keeper is a better match up for us and different things along those lines. Each team and game is different too. We’ll have to go with what’s best for the team and that’s a good situation that we have right now. We’ll take it one game at a time.”last_img

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