first_imgAfter recording two wins in its first two games, the No. 25 Wisconsin women’s soccer team has already met some expectations at the beginning of its season. With 10 returning starters and a talented list of incoming freshmen, the Badgers look to be a competitive opponent in non-conference and Big Ten play this season.The Badgers began their season last Friday against Creighton University, defeating the Bluejays 2-0. Senior squad captain Amy Vermeulen recorded the first goal of the season for the Badgers early in the first half. Vermeulen was aided in an assist by fellow senior captain Marissa Brown. The second goal for the Badgers came late in the second half when freshman Elisa Webber scored her first career goal for UW.Sophomore goalkeeper Lynn Murray earned her first shutout this season for the Badgers after recording three saves throughout the game.“Our goal was to get the shutout,” Dean Duest, Wisconsin head coach, said. “Creighton is a very good team and they will do well. We started out in a flash and it was a very physical game. Our girls battled well.”The next win came just two days later, when the Badgers outlasted No. 23 Kansas 3-2 in overtime. Senior captain Katy Lindenmuth scored first for the Badgers in the first half. With a 1-1 score heading into the second half, it did not take Lindenmuth long to score her second goal for the cardinal and white. Lindenmuth scored just 39 seconds into the second half, giving the Badgers a 2-1 advantage. The Jayhawks responded quickly, sending the game into overtime, where Vermeulen quickly showed her talents by scoring the game-deciding goal to record the Badgers’ second win of the season.“[This weekend] was a great start for our team,” Duerst said. “We know a lot more about ourselves. Now we can turn it up a notch and continue to improve. We know what it feels like to be in a tight game.”Vermeulen and Lindenmuth’s efforts in their first two games met Duerst’s early expectations for leadership and experience this season. “We have talent and depth and are strong all around,” Duerst said. “The nice thing about this team right now is that the experience and leadership is in place. There are a new group of players, but they are being taken care of, and everyone is ready to go.”Lindenmuth adds the combination of experience and talent will lead the Badgers through the upcoming season.“We have a lot of expectations and a ton of talent. We have a lot of returners in combination with a lot of really talented young players. It’s one of the most exciting things on the team this year. Practices are so competitive. Everyone is back this season and ready to play.”With a goal to take it a game at a time, the Badgers are looking at a competitive and tough schedule this season. With one win against ranked Kansas behind them, the Badgers are slatted to face five other ranked opponents.Wisconsin will battle No. 7 Portland and No. 20 Washington next week at the Portland Tournament in Portland, Ore. The Badgers are also scheduled to play No. 13 Illinois Sept. 25, No. 8 Penn State Oct. 2 and No. 10 Ohio State Oct. 23. Wisconsin will host both Penn State and Ohio State and will play Illinois on the road.Currently the Badgers are concentrating on their non-conference opponents, but their concentration will change Sept. 23, when they are scheduled to open Big Ten play on the road against Iowa.“Our non-conference games are going to be really important for us this season,” Murray said. “Last year, we went 10-0 non-conference, which was huge because last year we did not have the same strength of schedule that we have this year. Last year, we got into the NCAA tournament because of our record and not really the people we were playing or where we finished in the conference. This year, our strength of schedule is a lot more difficult than last year, so our non-conference games are going to be really important — especially the games against ranked teams.”While the NCAA tournament is not scheduled until November, the Badgers once again hope to make a strong showing in the tourney. “As a team goal, we are trying to at get to the same place we were last year,” Murray said. “This year, we know we can do better than the second round of the NCAAs.”The Badgers will look to carry the momentum from their first two season victories into the home opener against Oklahoma. Wisconsin is scheduled to play the Sooners in the Big 12 Challenge today at 2 p.m. at the McClimon Soccer Complex. The team is also scheduled to play Oklahoma State Sunday at 11 a.m., also at the McClimon Soccer Complex. Both the Sooners and Cowboys have already recorded a 2-0 record. Oklahoma defeated St. Louis 2-1, and Arkansas 3-0, while Oklahoma State defeated both Texas State and Arkansas State 3-0.last_img