Aug. 13, 2011
MADISON, Wis. - For head coach Paula Wilkins, Saturday's exhibition contest against Marquette served as a good tune-up as the Badgers prepare for their season opener next Friday, Aug. 19, at Notre Dame.
Despite the 2-0 defeat to the Golden Eagles in front of 431 fans at McClimon Soccer Complex, Wilkins felt that the game's physicality served her team well.
"I think in the first half we didn't realize we were going to be in such a physical battle and I think it's a great and important start for us in terms of understanding the physicality we're going to need to bring," she said. "I was pleased with the second half that we got a little bit better in terms of that and got some more people forward and played a little better after understanding the pressure."
Marquette took a 1-0 lead into halftime after Lisa Philbin headed in a cross from Kate Reigle in the 26th minute.
Reigle then scored on a header of her own in the 67th minute with Ally Miller providing the assist.
"The biggest thing about playing Marquette is I wanted to deal with the physicality and the emotion that they bring," Wilkins said. "I think that was important because we need to have that tempo ready for when we play Notre Dame.
"I'd like us to be a little more composed on the ball. I think with [Marquette's] pressure, having to deal with it will give us something to work on in practice. The biggest thing is seeing the improvement from the first half to the second half."
All three goalkeepers saw action for the Badgers as Michele Dalton got the start and played the entire first half. Olivia Hoff, who posted a team-high two saves, split the second half with Genevieve Richard.
Saturday night's contest also was the first game action for the Badgers' freshman class and Wilkins liked what she saw.
"I thought Lauren Reid did really well at left-back," Wilkins said. "I was really happy with what she did and also with her composure. Defensively I thought she was very strong for us.
"I think Cara Walls came into her own and got better as the game went on and spaces opened up for her. I'd like to see her finish a little bit more and do something, but I think that's going to come with time and I'm really happy with that.
"With Julia Roddar, again I think in the second half after they got used to the physicality and the speed, settled down a little bit more and were able to impact the game a little bit more and read the game more."
The Badgers open the 2011 season on Friday, Aug. 19, at defending national champion and preseason No. 1 Notre Dame. Game time is set for 4:30 p.m. (CT).