Warhawks undefeated no more

Payton+DeLuga

Evan Halpop

Junior defender Payton DeLuga (26) heads the ball away from Wittenberg players. The Warhawks defense allowed just two goals between the team’s two games in the “W” Challenge, but it wasn’t enough to defeat Washington-Saint Louis.

Tyler Job, Staff Writer

The No. 8 UW-Whitewater women’s soccer team had an up-and-down weekend in the “W” Challenge by racking up a win against Wittenberg University, 2-1, Sept. 16 but got shutout to No. 1 Washington University in St. Louis, 1-0, Sept. 17.

Against Wittenberg, it took just eight seconds in overtime for senior midfielder Marie Lesperance to propel her team to a thrilling victory.

The first half was so close, yet so far shots on goal that should have gone in the net for both sides.

The Warhawks came out aggressive to begin the game, and almost scored not even a minute in when senior midfielder Devin Polk’s kick bounced off the top post out of bounds.

Wittenberg eventually settled in and played tough against UW-W the rest of the half. Tigers forward Taylor Vaughn-Stanton almost got her team on the board first in the 28th minute, but missed a wide open shot that ricocheted off the right post.

UW-W missed another opportunity in the 37th minute after freshman forward Meghan Riordan’s shot struck the left pipe.

UW-Whitewater head coach Ryan Quamme said he was fairly pleased about the Warhawks’ missed opportunities.

“We’ve been struggling to create good chances so I wasn’t discouraged if they were hitting the post,” Quamme said. “At this part of the season, we’re just trying to get better.”

After a back and forth start to the second half, the Warhawks finally got on the board first in the 67th minute off a corner kick from junior defender Alyssa Lennon that found its way to freshman forward Anna Boyd’s feet.

Not even four minutes later, however, the Tigers emphatically responded with a long, centerfield bomb from forward Megan Davis that went out of sophomore goalkeeper Sara Klimisch’s reach to knot the score 1-1.

After more back and forth action to end regulation, craziness happened. The type of craziness where it only took eight seconds for Lesperance to drive down the field through a bunch of swarming Tiger defenders, and give her team the unbelievable victory.

“She’s having a great senior year, so I was happy to see her finish,” Quamme said. “That’s what seniors need to do: score in overtime.”

With the win, the Warhawks improved to 4-0-2 on the season. The Tigers ended the game with five shots on goal and four saves, while UW-W finished with six shots on goal and four saves.

The Warhawks faced a monumental task in its second game of the weekend against the best women’s soccer team in the country: the Washington University in St. Louis Bears. That monumental task was when Lesperence received a red card in the 38th minute for allegedly throwing an elbow at a Bears defender.

UW-W was shorthanded the rest of the contest because of Lesperance’s ejection.

“I think they (the officials) were targeting her all game,” Quamme said. “We need a lot more discipline, but it was just an unfortunate situation.”

The ’Hawks managed to stay competitive with the Bears for the majority of the way until midfielder Jesse Rubin scored the first and only goal for the Bears in the 81st minute.

Freshman midfielder Katy Kusswurm almost tied it for UW-W in the 82nd minute but missed her shot wide left.

The Warhawks eventually ran out of gas en route to its first loss of the season.

UW-W only registered one shot on goal all game, while Klimisch had a very busy day, saving 10 of 11 shots on goal.

“It’s a lot of pressure, but my defense helped limit the pressure,” Klimisch said. “I thought we put a lot of heart and a lot of effort into it given that we were playing one person down the majority of the game.”

The Warhawks, now 4-1-2, will next battle North Central Sept. 20 at Fiskum Field. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m.

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