Women’s soccer team falls to No. 4 Wheaton

 

First-year midfielder Maura Walsh boots the ball downfield during the Duhawks' 2-1 win over Augustana earlier this season.
First-year midfielder Maura Walsh boots the ball downfield during the Duhawks’ 2-1 win over Augustana earlier this season.

DUBUQUE — It was a tough weekend for the Duhawks, as they took on their rival, No. 4 Wheaton College Saturday afternoon. The Thunder ended the Duhawks’ season with a 3-2 victory in the second round of the NCAA Tournament last season.

The first half was an adjustment for Loras, as they applied low pressure on the Thunder attack. With Wheaton’s five shots to Loras’ one, the first half would remain scoreless. Senior goalkeeper Hannah Wilson had two saves within the first 45.

The second half grew more intense, as both teams fought to get that first tally. As the Thunder came up the field, the Duhawks were beat on the outside, allowing a cross into the box. A Wheaton forward was left open on the back side and would put one away past Wilson that gave the visiting team the lead in the 69th minute.

The Duhawks struggled to connect in the attacking third. Wheaton, on the other hand, had ten shots; but five Wilson saves kept the Duhawks close. In the final minutes of the match, Loras was awarded a corner kick which brought every player in the box, including Wilson. The Thunder were able to clear it out to a forward standing alone who would take it to the back of the net with ease in the last three seconds of the game, leaving the score at 2-0.

“I took a lot of positives out of the Wheaton game,” said head coach Dan Rothert. “Year after year, Wheaton is a standard to measure our program. Our team battled and brought the needed energy on Saturday verses Wheaton. Combined with following through on the tactical adjustments we made, we were able to compete and were in the game to the very end. We have played one of the toughest non-conference schedules in the country in hopes to have us ready for an improving conference slate.”

The Duhawks are currently 4-5. This is the first time the women’s soccer program has been below .500 since the 2007 season.

The Duhawks are scheduled to face the Platteville Pioneers on Wednesday in the Rock Bowl at 7 p.m. A win Wednesday would be their first of the season in the Rock Bowl, and provide momentum after a slow start to the season.

“We have been talking about peaking at the right time lately,” said senior captain and outside back Kristina Everding. “We realize that we aren’t where we wanted to be right now, but there is still a lot of season left to play. A lot of newcomers are starting to step up their level of play, which translates both during practices and games. Each day we have something to learn, and we are excited to keep improving and see what this team is capable of.”

Despite their current record, the Duhawks are still favorites to come out on top in the Iowa Conference. Their first IIAC match will take place this Saturday against Central at 2 p.m.

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