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Blugolds Top Macalester In Soccer Opener
Posted: Friday, August 31, 2007
It's probably as tough a season opener as Sean Yengo has had as the UW-Eau Claire head women's soccer coach.
As a result, the Blugolds' 3-1 win over Macalester College Friday afternoon at the Bollinger Fields was probably the most satisfying season-opening win for Yengo, who is starting his 11th season at the Blugold helm with a 134-61-15 record.
The Blugolds, who are the two-time defending Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference champions and have participated in the NCAA Division III playoffs for two straight years, had not beaten Macalester, which won the 1998 NCAA DIII championship, since the 1994 season. The Blugolds are now 2-8-1 against the Scots, who like the Blugolds, lost to eventual national champion Wheaton College, Illinois in the NCAA playoffs last year.
Coming in to this season, both the Blugolds and the Scots received preseason poll rankings. In the Division III NSCAA/adidas poll, the Blugolds are ranked 15th, while the Scots are 21st. However, in the D3Kicks.com poll, the Blugolds received a 10th place ranking, while the Scots missed the top 25.
Macalester handed the Blugolds one of their three setbacks during last year's record 18-3 season with a 1-0 decision on the Scots' home turf in St. Paul. The Scots have lost just 17 games in Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference play in the past 18 seasons.
The Blugolds are starting the 2007 campaign minus three outstanding performers from last year. Gone are Maria Iaizzo, the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference player of the year and the team's leading scorer; Emily Meisinger, the WIAC Scholar-Athlete and the team's third leading scorer; and Becky Westbrock, a d3Kicks.com second team All-American defender.
But Yengo returns four All-Conference performers in goalie Allie Rivard (Jr.-Plymouth, MN/Wayzata), defender Allison Smith (Jr.-Bloomington, MN/Jefferson), forward Amy Smith (Jr.-Bloomington, MN/Jefferson) and midfielder Liz Kooistra (Jr.-Lakeville, MN). They played a pivotal role in the win over Macalester Friday. Kooistra scored the eventual game-winner at the 66:22 mark while Allison Smith assisted on the first goal just 6:08 into the contest and Amy Smith assisted on the final goal at the 73:03 mark. Rivard went the entire 90 minutes in goal to pick up the win but only needed to make two saves.
The Blugolds controlled the early-going of the contest on Jessica Millard's(Jr.-Madison/La Follette) first goal which she scored on a header after Allison Smith's direct kick bounced back off the crossbar. Macalester gained some momentum to finish out the first half on a goal by Grace King at 30:12.
The Blugolds totally controlled the second half, outshooting the Scots, 12-1, to finish with an 18-3 advantage in that category.
Freshman Haelee Maurer (Appleton/West) tallied the final goal and also had the assist on Kooistra's game-winner.
The Blugolds will face three consecutive MIAC opponents on the road before returning home for a non-conference game with the University of Chicago on Sept. 15. Prior to that they play at Augsburg Saturday and at Moorhead, Minnesota Sept. 7-8 against Concordia-Moorhead and St. Scholastica.
- KM -