EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (Blugolds.com) - With the start of the Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference tournament on Tuesday, it was win or go home for the UW-Eau Claire women's soccer team. They made it clear early that they were not ready for the season to end, scoring a quick goal and dominating UW-Platteville 3-1 at Bollinger Field.
Senior Paige LeGate (Green Bay, Wis./Bay Port) was searching for her first goal of the season and just two minutes, 17 seconds into the game, picked a great time to find the back of the net. LeGate headed a pass from Colette St. John (Fr.-Chaska, Minn./Chaska) past the Pioneer (9-9-1) goalkeeper for the early 1-0 lead.
From there, the Blugolds (8-8-3) never looked back. They controlled the play in the first half, limiting the Pioneers to no shots. In the 25th minute, the Blugolds struck again, this time it was Caroline Henderson (So.-Duluth, Minn./East) on an assist from Allie Stone (Sr.-Madison, Wis./Verona Area).
When the teams met in the regular season, it was evenly played and it was Stone who scored the lone goal of the game on a penalty kick, giving the Blugolds the win. That match did have five yellow cards and a red card. There was one yellow card given on the Pioneers in this matchup in the first half.
The Blugolds had several chances early in the second half to put the game out of reach on a few balls that just missed the net. But in the 75th minute, it was Henderson again that added to her team high 11th goal of the season to put the Blugolds up 3-0.
The lone blemish came in the 84th minute when the Pioneers got one past senior goalkeeper Nina Behrenbrinker (Sr.-St. Paul, Minn./Cretin-Derham Hall) to break up the shutout bid.
It was an impressive victory for the Blugolds after an up-and-down season. They outshot the Pioneers 23-4 and did not allow a corner kick while taking eight of their own. Behrenbrinker made two saves on three shots in the game.
The Blugolds will now take on top-seeded UW-Whitewater on Thursday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. in Whitewater. A win against the Warhawks would get the Blugolds to the conference championship on Saturday, Nov. 9 at either UW-Stout or UW-Oshkosh.