UW takes offensive struggles east

first_imgGREG DIXON/Herald photoThe Wisconsin women’s soccer team needs to take care of the details. Head coach Paula Wilkins has the team focusing on the small things once again this week after the Badgers fell to the Illini 3-0 on the road.The loss was disheartening for Wisconsin after playing well in its three previous games — all at home — against difficult competition.”It is really disappointing,” senior Shannon Terry said of the loss. “After playing so well against Loyola-Chicago, we had some momentum coming in — everyone was feeling pretty confident — and it was like we just got our feet knocked out from under us.”As the Badgers hit the road again this weekend for a pair of Big Ten matches, they will look to take care of those details and come away with one or more victories.Wisconsin (5-7-1, 1-4 Big Ten) will begin the weekend Friday at Michigan State (5-8-1, 0-6 Big Ten). Despite being the only team without any points in Big Ten play, the Spartans boast an impressive defense that has allowed only 16 goals through its first 14 games.The problem that has plagued Michigan State this season — a problem that Wisconsin knows too well — has been a lack of offensive output. While the Spartan defense has allowed just 16 goals, the offense has scored only 12.Comparably, the Badgers’ defense has allowed 18 goals through 13 games while the offense has mustered a mere 10 goals.”I say it all the time, but we need to get numbers forward; we need to score goals — that’s for sure,” Wilkins said. “We need to make sure that we are organized and taking care of set pieces, and be able to capitalize off set pieces.”Wisconsin will finish the weekend Sunday as it travels to Ann Arbor to face Michigan (2-8-3, 0-4-2 Big Ten). Like the Spartans, the Wolverines are not a team that the Badgers can afford to overlook. Despite its record, Michigan played Indiana and Purdue very tough to the end. Both games finished with the score tied after two extra periods. The ties remain the only blemishes on the conference records of the top two teams in the Big Ten, who sit at 5-0-1.”[Michigan State and Michigan] are very well-coached teams and very competitive,” Wilkins said. “I have been in the Big Ten a long time and it is always difficult to play at either Michigan or Michigan State.”For Michigan, it is a case of the same problem, different team. Similar to the Badgers and the Spartans, the Wolverine defense has held its opponents to 16 goals through 13 games. However, also similar to Wisconsin and Michigan State, the Michigan offense has only managed 10 goals on the season.Another issue Wisconsin will have to work on this weekend is the team’s play away from the friendly confines of the McClimon Soccer Complex. While the Badgers have gone 4-2 at home, they are only 1-5-1 on the road and haven’t yet secured a win away from home against Big Ten competition. “I think it is just a [lack of] confidence away from home,” Terry said. “We have not played well on the road, and we obviously need to change that this weekend.”As the end of the regular season draws near, a sense of urgency is hitting the Badgers, who hope to improve their record and position in the Big Ten. With Sunday’s loss, UW dropped to ninth in the standings — just ahead of Michigan and Michigan State, respectively.”[This weekend] is really important; we need to win both these games,” forward Taylor Walsh said. “It is going to be hard because we have not played well on the road. [However], we basically need to win every game the rest of the season.”last_img read more

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