WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- It's been a season to remember thus far for members of the No. 11 Wisconsin women's soccer team. If the moments and wins along the way haven't been enough, many are now donning Badgers with awards and honors that will forever remind them of this season's success.
College Sports Madness released its 2014 Big Ten All-Conference Teams this week, which featured Wisconsin head coach Paula Wilkins as the Big Ten Coach of the Year, as well as four Badgers earning First-Team recognition.
In her eighth season at the helm of the Wisconsin program, Wilkins has guided the Badgers to one of the best campaigns in school history. UW began its season 7-0, which tied for the best start in program history. The Badgers also went on to become the fastest group in school history to reach 10 wins in a season and the first to 13 wins since 2005.
Wilkins reached 200 career wins as a head coach this season with Wisconsin's 4-1 drubbing of rival Minnesota in Minneapolis on Oct. 18. She enters this week's Big Ten tournament with 202 career wins.
Rose Lavelle, Kinley McNicoll, Genevieve Richard and Cara Walls were each named to the CS Madness All-Big Ten First Team. The recognition echoed the league honors each received yesterday when the Big Ten announced its own postseason awards.
No. 11 Wisconsin is set to kick off postseason play at the Big Ten tournament this week in West Lafayette, Indiana. The Badgers face Illinois on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. (CT).
The staff at College Sports Madness chooses top players for each conference, as well as All-America teams, based on selected players having made a significant contribution to their teams during the 2014 regular season. Coach of the Year Paula Wilkins - Wisconsin
Offensive Player of the Year Jannelle Flaws - Illinois
Defensive Player of the Year Whitney Church - Penn State
Freshman of the Year Ani Sarkisian - Michigan
First Team F - Cloe Lacasse - Iowa F - Mayme Conroy - Nebraska F - Jannelle Flaws - Illinois F - Cara Walls - Wisconsin M - Ani Sarkisian - Michigan M - Kinley McNicoll - Wisconsin M - Rose Lavelle - Wisconsin M - Emily Hurd - Penn State D - Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz - Michigan State D - Whitney Church - Penn State D - Melanie Pickert - Iowa D - Erica Skroski - Rutgers GK - Genevieve Richard - Wisconsin
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The road to the 2013 NCAA tournament runs through Champaign, Ill., for many of the Big Ten's best as eight of the conference's top teams travel to the University of Illinois for the 2013 Big Ten tournament.
Follow the Badgers' journey as UWBadgers.com chronicles the team's every move from the dinner table to the locker room:
Well Badger fans, our regular season is well underway! We have already completed our first road trip and just finished another series against the University of Oregon as well as Oregon State. It is safe to say that the first two series were a definite success and a great start to the year with three wins and a tie. Not only was the soccer successful, but also the traveling has been a blast with the team.
Our team has come up with a game called "What are the odds?", and it provides endless entertainment, especially while on the road. The game is played by asking a specific player what the odds are of completing a certain crazy task, similar to a dare in the game Truth or Dare. The player in question then responds with an odds amount, such as 1 in 10.
At the count of three, the person who is being asked, as well as the person asking the question must say a number that falls within the two numbers that were chosen. If the two teammates say the same number, the task must be carried through, no questions asked. After beginning the game in preseason, we have witnessed some hilarious things, such as wild hairstyles, unusual outfits, or even jokes to be played on the coaching staff.
The game has been an amazing team building exercise and always delivers a ton of laughs. One highlight of the game so far has been seeing freshman goalie Meghan Ledin sprint through the Madison airport pretending to miss her flight to Oregon.
Another activity that was a memorable one for the team was touring the athletic facilities at the University of Oregon. Although there is no doubt that we consider them our enemies since we faced off this past Friday night, there is also no denying that their facilities are some of the coolest we have seen, outside UW's of course.
Thursday morning we got to practice right outside the gates of Tracktown USA and the famous Hayward Field. Seeing the huge posters of Prefontaine was especially exciting for Kinley McNicoll, who considers him her favorite athlete of all-time. After practice we headed to their game field to get a feel for the turf and the stadium as a whole. Upon seeing all of the "O's" surrounding us, it was only fitting that we got a team picture in the shape of a W to show them that we had arrived and meant business.
Once we completed our walk-around of their field, we were given inside access to their team's locker room and film room. A definite highlight of the tour was seeing the duck-shaped candy that was available in the team's locker room. As Nicole La Petina commented on her Instagram picture, we couldn't wait to "bEAT the Ducks". The last stop on the tour was Autzen Football Stadium, and even though it was an amazing field, in my mind there is still no competing with Camp Randall.
After traveling from Eugene to Corvallis, we ended our stay in Portland on Sunday afternoon/evening. Once we no longer had a game to immediately focus on, the team got the opportunity to unwind with some shopping in downtown Portland. The Nike store was a must-see, so it was only fitting that very few girls left without a shopping bag in their hands. With our wallets empty, we returned to the hotel for a quick night of sleep before our 5:30 am flight home.
Traveling coast-to-coast has been an amazing experience with this year's team, just like the rest of preseason has been. Not only did we see new places and face unfamiliar opponents, but we ended the preseason undefeated, which is a huge feat for such a young group. Although the trips have been filled with both on-field success and off-field fun, we are ready to turn the page and focus our sights on our huge game Friday night against Vanderbilt.
The match will be our regular season home opener and also our promotional PAC the MAC game. We can't wait to return to Madison to keep the unbeaten streak alive, and more importantly, protect our home turf.
Hello Badgers fans! Our team certainly has been busy since the last time I was able to report on the team activities and other behind-the-scenes information.
One highlight of the previous week was the annual Red-White game on Tuesday night. The Red-White game is an intrasquad scrimmage that we use as preparation for the season. All of the players bring both their red and white jerseys in order to switch between positions and teams so the coaches are able to get a final look at various systems of play before our first exhibition game. Although this year's game was not open to the public and was a bit of a struggle due to some tired, sore, and bruised bodies, it was amazing to be back on McClimon and playing on a larger scale.
The Red-White game was the perfect warm up for our big season opener against Marquette that occurred this past Thursday night. Although it was only an exhibition match-up and doesn't count towards our rankings for the actual season, Marquette is one of our largest rivals. The Badgers have not beaten Marquette on our home field for as long as Paula has coached here in Madison.
In addition, Paula always stresses the importance of having the goal to "win the state of Wisconsin". Therefore, going into the game we all knew it was going to be no small task to get the win. However, one great way to get our minds off of the preseason nerves before the big game was our coveted tradition of a pre-game dance party (Video Courtesy of Cara Walls: @Caarraaa).
More commonly referred to as simply "DP's", these dance parties occur prior to every time that we take the field, both home and away. Some dance parties are more energized and hilarious than others, and let me tell you, the Marquette DP was one for the record books. Whether it was the team-wide "Wobble" or Ke$ha karaoke, the dance party was the perfect way to gain some energy and momentum to carry into warm-ups and the game.
Once warm-ups were over and the starting eleven took the field, it was clear that the team chemistry and energy from the legendary DP was going to feed into our play. For the first time in the Paula Wilkins era at UW, we not only beat Marquette, but also played a great first game to get the result of 5-1. Although it did feel amazing to sing "Varsity" for the first time on our home turf this season, we ended the game knowing that the true work had just begun.
Following Marquette, we were rewarded with the first full day off since the beginning of preseason besides some recovery and rehab. Some spent the day napping, some spent their time shopping, and some of us even chose to spend our time crafting and creating decorations for our new apartments and dorms. After our chance to recover and rejuvenate, we were excited to take the field for a weekend of practicing in preparation for the beginning of our actual season.
This week we will show all of our preseason work and be put to the test as we start our regular season on the road at UConn and Illinois State. Hopefully I'll have a few good stories from the road trip! On Wisconsin
Well several days have passed and it's safe to say that we are in the full swing of preseason! Two-a-days have definitely taken a toll on our bodies, but luckily we've had plenty of team activities to break up some of the practicing.
On Saturday morning we got back in the weight room with Steph (our strength trainer) for some agility work and a lifting session. Immediately afterwards, we broke up into groups of four and ran from Camp Randall to Picnic Point. For those of you who don't know, Picnic Point is a gorgeous park right along the Lakeshore bike path. A majority of the park is a peninsula that juts out into Lake Mendota for some amazing views of the water and the city of Madison.
Once all of the groups made it to the very tip of the peninsula, our coaches Paula and Kristen were waiting for us with bags of food so we could have a team picnic for some extra bonding time. The picnic was a definite success and was a great way to get in some rest, recovery, and team building before practice in the afternoon.
The following day (Sunday), we got to enjoy another team activity after practice in the morning. However, instead of staying on campus, we carpooled out to McKenna Meuer's house on the west side of Madison to enjoy a home cooked meal and a movie. The feature film of choice was Billy Madison.
Surprisingly enough, it was the first time many of the girls had ever seen the movie. Although the movie delivered some great laughs, the obvious hit of the night was the overflowing crockpot of the Meuer's famous cheesy potatoes. Needless to say, we all left with very full and happy stomachs.
The various team activities have been a favorite of the players, and there are many more in store. But one of my personal favorites thus far was the dance battle after practice on Thursday. Thanks to our new freshman Micaela Powers, we had a Beats by Dre speaker system to really get the music playing loudly.
For the opening round we selected team dance phenom Marta Wangard and the outgoing freshman goalie Meghan Ledin. Marta stole the show with her perfectly performed "Dougie", but Meghan was a tough competitor. There is no doubt that it was the perfect duo to kick off the dance battles that will take place for the rest of the season.
I hope you all stayed tuned for more behind-the-scenes info from our preseason camp! We can't wait to finally take the field against Marquette on Thursday and I'm sure there will be plenty to report on afterwards.
It's that time of year again! For the 26 of us on the University of Wisconsin women's soccer team summertime has faded away and preseason is officially underway. My name is Carly Vogel, and I am a junior defender on the team majoring in journalism. For the next couple of weeks I will be giving you an all-access pass behind-the-scenes of the Badger women's preseason.
We have finally finished our first day of practice, and there is a lot to report on! Technically, our first day of the season was Monday, August 6th, which was filled with endless meetings and medical testing for the freshmen and newcomers. We all reunited at 8:45 in the morning for our normal round-robin of meetings with members of the UW administration, student-athlete development, compliance and sports medicine staffs, among others.
Afterwards, the freshmen were whisked away to the UW hospital for medical testing. Meanwhile, us upperclassmen had the tough job of relaxing until our next meeting that started at 2:00pm. That meeting pretty much flew by since all of us were only concerned about one thing and one thing only... "Second Christmas". This would be the term that our team uses for equipment dispersal at the beginning of each season, in which we are never skimmed on some awesome gear for workouts and practices!
Once the excitement died down, we had our first official team meeting where we reviewed all team rules and got our schedule for the preseason. The last activity of opening day was some team bonding with the Newlywed Game. Kristen Weiss (assistant coach) hosted as we learned some very interesting facts about our new teammates and each other. Some of the highlights: Almost everyone's favorite Olympic sport besides soccer is gymnastics, and almost everyone would call their dad if their car broke down and they needed AAA.
The first day definitely breezed by, but Tuesday was just a little more tiring. We started the day bright and early (only 9:00am) with our first official practice of the 2013 season! We started it off with a bang, immediately jumping into speed, agility, and fitness testing on the turf of McClain. Once we all recovered and scooted out to University Bay field, it was time for some fun.
Our first training included competitive 4v4 and 8v8. It was truly great to be back on the field with everyone and such a blast. Once the first practice was officially a wrap, we returned to Camp Randall for some recovery ice baths. Needless to say, ice baths are not a favorite of many of the players on the team. We also learned pretty quickly that the key to survival in one of the cold tubs is wearing socks.
After that torture, we finally had some lunch and headed back to our apartments for a much needed nap. The second session of the day was equally as exhausting. 1v1's, 3v2's, and 5v5 were definitely a challenge after the intense morning session that we had already completed. But to end the day on a really high note, Paula informed us that two people would be dance battling to conclude each day of practicing this preseason! Be sure to stay tuned for a recap from Thursday's opening round!
I can't wait to keep you all updated on all of the latest behind-the-scenes Badgers preseason highlights! On Wisconsin!
As the saying goes, college is the fastest four years of
Six seniors on the University of Wisconsin women's soccer
team had an opportunity to extend their college soccer experience by doing
something only 16 other senior classes have accomplished at UW -- earning a bid to the NCAA Women's Soccer
After a 12-7-1 mark, the Badger senior class guided the UW
to its third NCAA tournament berth in four years. Many of the current seniors
experienced Wisconsin's 2009 Sweet 16 run, so the success the team saw this
season was unprecedented, and frankly inevitable.
Supported by talented underclassmen, seniors Lauren
Gunderson, Olivia Hoff, Erin Jacobsen, Monica Lam-Feist, Lindsey Hamannm Joana Bielefeld and
Lindsey Johnson, led a Badgers squad that was arguably one of UW head coach
Paula Wilkins' strongest teams to date.
Considering Wilkins has a 21-8 overall record in NCAA tournament
games, including a pair of College Cup Semifinal appearances, the fact that she
described this year's squad as "special" is no small accolade.
The impact of the senior class rippled through the entire
season, like a wave that travels across a large body of water, from one shore
to another. It all began with the Badgers' season-opening win over Notre Dame --
the Badgers second win over the Fighting Irish all-time -- which was secured by
a game-winning goal from Lam-Feist, a 2012 second team All-Big Ten honoree.
Gunderson sparked the Badgers' 3-0 start, posting
three-consecutive shutouts and finishing with five on the season. Bielefeld and Johnson were the unsung heroes at the midfielder and defender positions, respectively, deflecting nearly every potential
scoring opportunity that threatened UW's keepers. Bielefeld also contributed a pair of goals in 2012 -- both were game-winning goals. Hoff, Hamann and Jacobsen all
played supporting roles, but were instrumental in their team's development.
The 2012 class was vital in the success of the Wisconsin
women's soccer program in more ways than one --
but more importantly, Wilkins' first recruiting class played the biggest
role of all in laying the foundation for future classes to come.
The Badgers hit the road for the second consecutive week as
they continue their postseason in the 2012 NCAA Women's Soccer Championships. Wisconsin
is making its third appearance in the NCAA Tournament in the last four years,
and has been pair against No. 3-seeded UCLA. Join the trip by following this picture timeline, as the team travels
to Los Angeles, Calif., in preparation for the opening round of the Big Dance.
Sunday, Nov. 11 12:05 a.m.: The team hits the hotel once more to shower and, after a couple hours of lay time, heads to the airport to catch a red-eye flight to Minneapolis, then to Chicago. It's been a great trip and we can't wait to see what the spring and fall has in store for us.
Saturday, Nov. 10 (Gameday)
4:49 p.m.: And the countdown to kick off begins!!!
10:03 a.m.: After gathering in the hotel lobby for breakfast, the team heads to a nearby meeting room to go over film. Never too early (in the morning) or too late (in the week) to polish up on in-game strategies.
Friday, Nov. 9
6:12 p.m.: The Badgers head to Drake Stadium for the team's final organized practice prior to tomorrow's NCAA opening-round match vs. third-seeded UCLA.
12:54 p.m.: With
a little bit of free time to roam, the Badgers hit Santa Monica Pier for a
little shopping and sight-seeing.
10:48 a.m.: Becky
McGrath and Marta Wangard lounge in the lobby as the squad awaits the green
light on heading out to Santa Monica Pier for the afternoon.
9:42 a.m.: As a
result of the change in time zone, the Badgers got two extra hours of sleep
before breakfast. The players really appreciated the hotel's buffet, especially "build-your-own-omelet" station.
Thursday, Nov. 8 7:35 p.m.: After
nearly nine hours of traveling, the Badgers hit Marina del Ray for a
much-needed dinner. The place of choice is C & O Trattoria, which is famous
for its never-ending (and absolutely delicious) garlic rolls.
Despite falling in the first round of the 2012 Big Ten
Tournament and witnessing its own bubble nearly burst following Illinois' upset
win over Penn State in the tournament's semifinals, Wisconsin is still alive
and kicking in its quest for its third berth in the NCAA Tournament in the last
The official announcement of the 64-team field will not
occur until Monday at 3:30 p.m. (CT), but that gives us two days to project and
form our own opinions on the chances that Bucky will see at least one more game
The RPI rankings are one of the biggest indicators of a
potential NCAA Tournament team. A team's strength of schedule, combined with
its overall record, cannot make or break a team's chances, but are huge in the
grand scheme of things. In theory, teams in the RPI top-40 are in the comfort
zone, while Nos. 41-64 are sweating as they keep an eye out for upsets come
conference tournament time. There are exactly 24 AQ (automatic qualifier) bids in the tournament, which go to each conference's tournament champion.
When looking at the latest RPI rankings, which were released
Oct. 29, Wisconsin was in the top-40, falling to No. 36 after its loss to Iowa
on Oct. 27. The Badgers' 2012 schedule featured matches against six teams in
the current RPI top-25, which included games against four of those seven teams
on the road. UW also suffered one-goal losses to a pair of RPI top-five squads
in UCLA (8/31) and Penn State (9/16).
According to former MLS star and U.S. National Team member
turned women's soccer blogger, Chris Henderson, this past week's conference
tournament did not hurt UW as much as we thought. Following multiple losses for
various bubble teams and squads poised to steal AQ bids, it
looks like Wisconsin's season is still intact -- but nothing is for certain
until the NCAA Tournament selection committee says it is.
The selection committee will make its announcement on the
field of 64 on Monday, Nov. 5, at 3:30 p.m. (CT). The selection show can be
viewed live on NCAA.com.