UWS Soccer Teams are Still Kickin’

This year has seen plenty of ups and downs for the Uni­ver­sity of Wis­con­sin Superior’s Men’s Soc­cer team. An open­ing sea­son draw against the num­ber 16 team in the coun­try, an over­time loss to WIAC (Wis­con­sin Inter-Collegiate Ath­letic Con­fer­ence) rival UW-Whitewater, and non-conference over­time losses to teams like Uni­ver­sity of Nebraska Wes­leyan and Gus­tavus Adol­phus Col­lege has left the team with mixed feelings.

Nate Engel, senior cap­tain and start­ing mid­fielder has been a promi­nent mem­ber of the team for four years now. “We’ve had our fair share of unlucky bounces,” he said. “But we have more tal­ent and depth than our record shows.” After Tuesday’s 1–1 tie to North­land rival St. Scholas­tica, the teams tough­est com­pe­ti­tion will come from the first ever WIAC con­fer­ence tournament.

The con­fer­ence tour­na­ment will take the top four teams in the con­fer­ence– most likely UWS, UW-Oshkosh, UW-Whitewater and UW-Platteville. These four teams will play a round robin tour­na­ment for a chance at the NCAA tour­na­ment. The Jack­ets are 1–1-1 in the con­fer­ence and look for­ward to this end of the sea­son tour­na­ment to wedge their way into the NCAA tournament.

It would be the first NCAA tour­na­ment birth for the Jack­ets and isn’t out of reach just yet.” said Assis­tant Coach Ben Mooney. UWS has been kept out of this tour­na­ment in past years by a small mar­gin. That mar­gin is usu­ally a nation­ally ranked team from their con­fer­ence. They have com­peted with and tied top teams in the coun­try but failed to seal the deal on mul­ti­ple occa­sions this year. This WIAC tour­na­ment gives UWS a chance at redemp­tion. The Jack­ets will have to prove them­selves against top teams for the sec­ond time.

Matt Kelly, also a senior cap­tain, offered his thoughts after Tuesday’s tie against CSS. “We’ve played with some of the top teams in the coun­try all sea­son long. We know that we can beat those teams: we just need to go out there and get the wins this time.”

The Jack­ets record is (8–6-3) with two reg­u­lar sea­son games left to play before their con­fer­ence tour­na­ment. Their final home game is at pub­lic schools sta­dium in Duluth on Octo­ber 26th at 4:00 against Fin­lan­dia University.

Image cour­tesy of Pete Vuke­lich — The Stinger
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