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.