It may be early in the season, but the Badger girls soccer team has looked strong so far.
The team went 3-1 in its first week of games, holding opponents to one or fewer goals three times.
Badger’s biggest win so far came on April 8, when it played host to Beloit Memorial/Turner and beat the visiting Nitros 4-0.
It didn’t take long for the Badgers to prove they were the better team, as junior Kristen Guyon scored just 1:08 into the contest off an assist from senior Brittany Gestrich, putting the home team up 1-0.
Gestrich quickly netted a goal of her own, scoring unassisted in the 13th minute to put Badger ahead 2-0.
One minute later, junior Reese Mikrut earned a penalty kick, and she made the most of her opportunity by rocketing the shot past the opposing goalkeeper to bring the score to 3-0.
With three goals so early, Badger followed through on a message that head coach Ross Fowler was keying on before the game.
“We talked about that at the beginning: being ready to play, coming out and setting the tone. And they did it,” Fowler said.
Badger wasn’t finished scoring, though. In the 28th minute, junior Lucy Reed scored a goal off an assist from senior Zoe Walker, making it 4-0.
While the scoring for the game ended there, only one-third of the way through the contest, that didn’t mean the Badgers took their foots off the gas.
For the remainder of the game, Badger was putting pressure on Beloit goalkeeper Megan Drucker, peppering the goalie with 13 shots on goal and 24 total shots in the game.
Conversely, the ball rarely made its way to the Badger goal, with Beloit getting only two shots on goal and four shots total in the shutout.
While Badger’s goalkeeper, senior Taryn Sproul, certainly deserves credit for blanking the Nitros, the credit goes to the entire team for the effort.
“Our four in the back and Taryn did a great job, but it starts up front when we lose possession of the ball. I thought tonight we were pretty solid; they didn’t have many dangerous opportunities,” Fowler said.
The season began for Badger on April 3 when the team hosted Janesville Craig in the first match of the year. The Cougars scored early and often to pick up the win 4-1.
Craig started the scoring at the eight-minute mark with a goal by sophomore Claudia Fieras. They lengthened their lead in the 21st minute when junior Savannah Dare scored to go ahead 2-0.
Badger scored its first goal of the year with three minutes left until halftime when Gestrich scored off an assist by Guyon to make it 2-1.
The Cougars got back on track in the second half, with Dare scoring her second goal of the game in the 58th minute to bring the score to 3-1.
Craig then wrapped up the scoring in the 76th minute with a goal by junior Hallie King.
Badger fared better in its second game, picking up a 2-0 win April 5 in Madison over Madison LaFollette.
In the seventh minute, Reed got the scoring underway with a goal off an assist by senior Madison Roen.
Gestrich scored unassisted to go up 2-0 in the 24th minute, which ended up being the game’s final goal.
In the win, the Badgers were out-shot 11-8 and 5-4 in shots on goal, but the visiting team made their slightly fewer opportunities count in the victory.
One day later, the Badgers hit the field again, this time in a home contest against Racine Horlick. The Badgers were able to top the visitors 3-1.
Gestrich scored the team’s first goal early at the seven-minute mark. Walker picked up an assist on the goal.
It took the Badgers 48 minutes to find the back of the net again, but it was Gestrich again who scored, this time off a pass from sophomore Greta Fleer.
Gestrich finished off her hat trick in the 62nd minute with an assist from Guyon.
In the team’s first four games, Gestrich scored six goals and picked up an assist. It’s no surprise that the senior is scoring en masse this year after leading the team in scoring a season ago.