As the end of the season nears, Badger’s soccer team has fallen into a bit of a rut.
After losing a non-conference game May 3 and then a pair of games to Southern Lakes Conference foes over the past week, the Badgers went on their first losing streak of the season.
On May 7, the team fell 3-0 in a home game against Waterford.
Early on, the two teams looked evenly matched. But when Badger was able to get good opportunities in the Waterford zone, the shots would end up as either near-misses or good saves by Wolverines goalkeeper Skyler Kruse.
Despite the Badgers looking stronger offensively, it was Waterford that got on the board first, as Maddie Nimke scored off an assist from Lizzy Schappel in the 24th minute.
Even though they stayed down 1-0 for the remainder of the half, the Badger offense looked good passing the ball and finding scoring opportunities.
“It can be frustrating at times when the ball bounces off the post, or you get there one step late to knock it in, but you’ve got to just try better next time,” head coach Ross Fowler said. “That’s the game of soccer, and they’ve got to forget about it and be ready the next play.”
It didn’t take long for Waterford to turn its 1-0 lead to 2-0, with Hailey Huckstorf scoring three minutes into the second half to make it 2-0.
Huckstorf scored again at the 59-minute mark to put the Wolverines up 3-0.
While the Badgers looked strong in the first half, the teamwork dissipated in the second half and the team’s scoring chances diminished.
“We got away from connecting passes and using one another, and tried to dribble too much. We’ve got to believe in each other and connect those passes, because when we do that, we do good things,” Fowler said.
While the score was 3-0 Waterford, Badger had more shots 14-11 and one more shot on goal 8-7 than the Wolverines.
With only two games remaining before the Southern Lakes Conference Tournament, Fowler knew his team needed to get back to its old ways before competing for the conference title.
“I think we didn’t play up to our level of potential and we need to get better at that and be building momentum going into the conference tournament,” Fowler said.
The Badgers were unable to do that their next time out, though, as they fell 1-0 to Burlington on May 9.
Burlington’s Amelia Crabtree scored unassisted in the 43rd minute for the game’s only goal.
Badger traveled to Elkhorn on May 13 and shook free from its slump, beating the Elks 4-2.
Senior Brittany Gestrich got Badger started with a goal in the 17th minute, but after that, both teams locked down for the rest of the first half and the Badgers led 1-0 at halftime.
Five minutes into the second half, Gestrich scored again, this time off an assist from senior Zoe Walker to go ahead 2-0.
Over the next three minutes, Elkhorn scored twice to tie the game 2-2.
However, in the 53rd minute Gestrich got the lead back, scoring with an assist from junior Kristen Guyon to cap off a hat trick as well as a four-minute stretch with four goals combined between the two squads.
The Badgers got a bit of extra breathing room in the 71st minute when sophomore Greta Fleer scored off a senior Madison Roen assist.
Badger was able to double the Elks’ scoring despite being outshot 20-15 and 14-8 in shots on goal. Badger’s senior goalkeeper Taryn Sproul had a great game, picking up 12 saves with only two goals allowed.