Blue Devils battle back, capture 2-1 victory

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By Matthew Haile —

Despite going down 1-0 early on in the game against University of Wisconsin–Platteville on Sept. 20, the Blue Devils women’s soccer team showed no signs of giving up. They remained poised in the face of pressure and kept a cool, collected attitude. First half goals by University of Wisconsin–Stout’s Jenna Kizlik (Jr, Hammond, Wis.) and Kelly Conn (So, Menasha, Wis.) proved to be the difference makers as the Blue Devils came away with a 2-1 win.

UW–Platteville came out quick, firing on all cylinders and putting one in the back of the net within the first two minutes of play. The Blue Devils, led by the tandem of Conn and Team Captain Kizlik picked it up considerably after the first goal and peppered the defenses of UW–Platteville, giving them no time to breathe. UW–Stout’s strategy rotated around  targeting the left side of UW–Platteville’s defense using a mixture of Conn and Lauren Kizlik (So, Hammond, Wis.), Jenna’s younger sister.

Sure enough, in the 18th minute of play a free-kick was drawn by UW–Stout due to a handball just outside the right side of the 18-yard box. Conn capitalized on this mistake by UW–Platteville and connected with Jenna Kizlik who performed a header for the first goal of the match.

“There was 88 minutes left. We had a lot of time to get that goal back, there was really no need for us to panic at that point,” said UW–Stout Coach Ryan Raufus when asked if there was a sense of panic after the early goal by UW–Platteville.

The play of the Blue Devils certainly reflected the words of their coach. Re-energized by Jenna Kizlik’s goal, it was all UW–Stout for the rest of the match. It seemed as if they were first to every 50/50 ball and their energy and intensity could be felt from the stands.

The Blue Devils offense was relentless, keeping the Pioneers on their toes with impeccable defense, barely letting anything through. The pressure applied by the Devils paid off.

In the 34th minute, the electrifying Conn sent a well-placed volley just inside the center of the 18-yard-line, over the outstretched hands of the keeper putting UW–Stout in the lead 2-1. They would take this lead into halftime and hold it for the rest of the game, despite sporadic bursts from the Pioneers’ offense.

UW–Stout bared a minimal amount of threats on the Pioneers’ net. The last major threat occurring eight minutes into the second half when a Blue Devil forward rocketed a shot from inside the box but was re-directed out of bounds on a one-handed save by back-up Pioneer keeper Mandy Taylor.

UW–Stout has high expectations for the remainder of the season. “We are hoping to take first in conference and make it to the playoffs again. We’re just going to take it game by game and do the best that we can,” said Jenna Kizlik.

The soccer squad will travel to St. Paul, Minn. to take on Macalester College on Tuesday, Sept. 23.

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