UWL soccer gears up for deep tournament run

Winning the WIAC regular season and tournament titles, the UW-La Crosse women’s soccer team knew a bid to the big dance was a done deal. On Monday the invite came with a home address.

“I’m really excited for the players. They have worked really hard. They have put the work in and commitment this year,” head coach Jason Murphy said.

UWL is the host school for first and second round games this weekend.

“I think it’s huge. Obviously hosting just feels really good. It makes a big different feeling that support. We feel we play better on our turf so it’s awesome,” senior Mary Mansker said.

It’s a good place to start for the Eagles, who are looking to build off their run to the national quarterfinals last season.

“It helps us calm the nerves a little bit. It’s not something that is new. It’s not something that is unfamiliar,” senior Maya Schmitt said.

“Our experience is going to come into our advantage this year. We have used it already and we are going to continue to use it,” Murphy said.

UWL enters the tournament on a 17 game unbeaten streak. In that span, Eagles have 10 shutout wins.

“I think for us, just coming out and play our game. Knowing how we need to possess and knowing what to do. We are able to alter or tactics. As whole we are just super excited and ready to go at it and give it our all. Now it’s make or break and we know what we need to do. We are ready for it,” Schmitt said.

Having fun is also in the game plan, and the team is buying in.

“We are just taking a deep breath. Taking a step back and realizing what we’ve done for the program. And how far we can go. We have a lot of potential,” Mansker said.

“There are 440 teams and 64 get the opportunity to play. We don’t take that for granted. We celebrate that. We are really excited about that opportunity,” Murphy said.

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