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ISSUE 118 VOL 2 PUBLISHED 9/24/2004

Women battle in MIAC: New defensive scheme gives team hope

By Julie Gunderson
Executive Editor

Friday, September 24, 2004

The womens soccer team fell to 1-2 and seventh place in the MIAC after a home loss to Concordia on Tuesday. The Oles lost 4-2 , falling behind 2-0 in the first half. Katie Bierlein 07, the teams leading scorer with four goals this season, netted both of the Oles goals against the Cobbers.

Despite the loss, the women remain optimistic as they move forward in the season.

Our defending was a little off, co-captain Sarah Cornell 05 said. We just have to make sure we get off to a good start and win those fifty-fifty balls.

Defense has been the focus of the Oles season so far. After giving up 43 goals last season, the women are shifting from a mark-up man-to-man defense to a zone defense.

The change seems to be working for the team, who fell to St. Thomas 2-1 last Saturday, but saw improvement on their performance against the Tommies a year ago, when they lost 5-1.

Were starting to adjust to it [zone defense], Bierlein 07 said. We have the talent, its just a matter of getting used to playing it and getting used to keeping everyone in formation.

The women are in the middle of a four-game home stand which began with St. Thomas on Sept. 18. Their next game will be at Rolf Mellby Field on Sept. 29 against Bethel.

We love playing at home, Cornell said. Our fans are great and its a lot less draining on the team to be able to play at home and not have those long van rides and other distractions.

The team is marking the Oct. 10 road game against Macalester on their calendars. The Oles lost a heartbreaker at home last year to Macalester, 2-1.

Our conference is strong overall, Cornell said. But we know that if we want to be there at the end of the year battling for a playoff spot we are going to have to beat teams like Macalester and St. Bens.

The women arent looking for any excuses, but they know that their record in the MIAC could easily be 2-1 right now instead of 1-2.

Weve had our chances, Bierlein said. Weve had a few unlucky breaks with balls hitting the posts. We know we are really close; right now, its all about just finishing and playing the best defense we can.

The Oles stepped out of conference play on Wednesday, defeating UW-Eau Clair 1-0 on a goal by Lindsay Ruisch 06. This is the second time this season that the Oles have played back-to-back games.

It can be pretty tiring, Cornell said. But its also good for us to get used to it since, in the [conference] tournament, thats how games are scheduled.

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