The MU soccer team was once again the victim of a slow start, falling to the University of Wisconsin 2-1 Friday night at the Nike Tiger Invitational, with junior Jennifer Nobis scoring the lone goal.
After a sluggish first half, the Tigers trailed the Badgers 2-0. MU had trouble on defense and freshman goalie Laura Buehrig saw two shots go by her. The first was by Wisconsin sophomore midfielder Kara Kabellis off of an assist by junior Amy Vermeulen, who scored Wisconsin’s second goal.
“We were very passive,” said Coach Bryan Blitz. “We had such a slow start. For us to reach our potential, we can’t do that. We’re way better than that.”
The Tigers emerged from the locker room in the second half energized and began playing much more aggressively. Senior Karen Bauer and sophomore Elyse Nikonchuk moved from defender to midfield. Heil said that the changes did allow the team to move the ball to the middle better, though Blitz and others credit the team’s improvement to an attitude change.
The Tigers kept the ball in Wisconsin’s half of the field for most of the second half and did not allow the Badgers to score again. The team had many more offensive opportunities and ended the game with 19 shots compared to Wisconsin’s eight. After several close calls, Nobis finally scored off a corner kick. The goal gives Nobis scores in three straight games.
“This game is definitely going to be a motivator for us,” said junior Erica Pusch. “We definitely learned from our first half and we can look back and evaluate how we played this game and we know we can play so much better. If we just put the effort that we did in the second half into the entire game, I think we’ll be great.“
The Tigers hope to learn from their mistakes when they play the University of Iowa at 1:30 p.m. Sunday at Audrey Walton Soccer Complex.