Aug. 1, 2012
MADISON, Wis. - This week couldn't have come any sooner for head coach Paula Wilkins and the rest of the 2012 Badgers, as the team kicked-off the preseason with its first official practice at the University Bay fields on Wednesday morning.
"Preseason is the most exciting day for me," Wilkins said. "The energy level is high and the excitement is at its peak. There's no place I'd rather be right now than on the field preparing for the 2012 season with the rest of the group."
The day began at 9 a.m. with a two-hour training session, consisting of fitness testing, agility drills and conditioning. The team took to the pitch again later in the day for another two-hour practice, a routine that will continue through the Badgers' Red/White Scrimmage, which is scheduled for Monday, August 6, at 6 p.m. CT.
Aside from the energy and excitement that comes along with the new season, Wilkins was also pleased to see the increased leadership from all levels, especially the newcomers.
"It says something good about this group when at the end of our fitness testing three of our freshmen are pushing the upperclassmen," Wilkins said. "This group has tremendous energy and just from this first session alone I'm realizing I won't have easy decisions to make in the near future."
The Badgers open their exhibition slate on Thursday, Aug. 9 in Milwaukee, Wis., as they take on Marquette, the reigning Big East American Division Champions. The UW will then have just over a week to prepare for their regular-season home opener against perennial-power Notre Dame on Aug. 17. In the meantime, Wilkins will stay within the confines of the University Bay grounds, preparing her team for a run at its first Big Ten Conference title since 1996.
"With less than two weeks to prepare for our home opener, things will have to move quickly and I liked the pace at which we worked today," Wilkins said. "The leadership has been better than ever and I'm happy with our starting point."
The Badger women's soccer schedule has undergone two minor changes since it was announced in the spring. The UW's annual nonconference match with UW-Green Bay has been rescheduled for Oct. 8 and will kick-off at 7 p.m. The Big Ten Conference has also announced that the Badgers' match at Penn State on Sunday, Sept. 16 will now kick-off at 12 p.m. CT. The game will be available for viewing on the Big Ten Network.