Posted November 10, 2015
The UW-River Falls women’s soccer team fell to UW-Eau Claire, 1-2, on Nov. 3 after going the last third of its season unbeaten.
According the UWRF Sports Information website, the women gave up two goals early in the first half allowing the Blugolds to lead 2-0. However, the Falcons dug deep and quickly answered back with a goal of their own putting the score at 1-2 going into half time. Head Coach Sean McKuras said he felt the women kept playing their hardest even as the clock ran down. To keep them mentally in the game, he kept coaching them from the sideline.
“That last 15 minutes was just encouragement to be honest. You could tell they were getting really tired,” McKuras said. “They played a lot of games and had been going hard. It certainly wasn’t a lack of effort.”
Hannah Litfin, outside defender for the Falcons, echoed the same thoughts as her coach.
“Everyone stayed strong and even though we were losing and even in the last couple minutes, and you’re kind of starting to give up, everyone still played their hardest and didn’t give up,” she said.
But as their 19th game of the year came to an end, so did the Falcons’ season.
The team finished with a 9-8-2 record and fourth in the WIAC. However, there was a lot more to the season than the numbers determining the overall record. Both McKuras and Litfin said they felt the women started out strong and then hit a rough patch in the middle of the season.
From Sept. 16 to Oct. 6, they played a total of seven games and only had one win.
“We just had a stretch there where that I think a lot of teams could have quit, and I don’t mean quit showing up or quit working hard, but it’s mentally draining to work that hard and have those things happen, and this team didn’t,” McKuras said.
In fact, the women didn’t just stop themselves from giving up, they came back and went on a five-game win streak with one tie mixed in, to go into conference play.
“For that last third of the season to just really turn it around, it’s something that I’ll remember in this program forever,” McKuras said.
Not only was McKuras proud of how hard his team worked throughout the season, and how the athletes mentally worked their hardest, but the women were also proud of themselves and their team. Litfin said that there was a positive way to look back at this season.
“You know we ended with a loss against Eau Claire, but the end of our season was ending really strong and I think thats something we can all look back on and be proud of,” she said.
The women may not be able to walk away with a record, or an ending, that reflects their hard work on and off the field, but they will be able to walk away with something much better: The memories of a team that had the tenacity to fight to the end.