Soccer loses 2-0 in shootout

Erik Buchinger

Alek Kleis grapples with a defender in the Titans’ regular season game against UWW.
[/media-credit] Alek Kleis grapples with a defender in the Titans’ regular season game against UWW.

The UW Oshkosh women’s soccer team tied DePauw University 1-1 after two overtimes, but the Titans were defeated 2-0 in a shootout in the first round of the NCAA Division III Championship in Grand Rapids, Michigan. UWO concluded its season with a 14-4-3 overall record in its second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. “It’s exciting to be in the NCAA tournament,” head coach Erin Coppernoll said. “I thought we were prepared, and it was a good matchup. We just didn’t come out and play a full 90 minutes.” DePauw scored its lone goal of the game in the eighth minute on an 18-yard unassisted goal from Elizabeth Seewer, who led all players with seven shots, including five on goal. The Tigers outshot Oshkosh 10-5 going into halftime with a 1-0 lead. “We dug ourselves into a hole in the first half,” Coppernoll said. “Luckily, it was just a shallow hole, but it was exciting to see our team rebound in the second half and really show some heart and determination that they were going to tie it up.” The Titans evened the score at 1 with a 21-yard, free-kick goal with 9:05 remaining in regulation from senior defender Nikki Mann, her first goal of the season. “It was really exciting,” Mann said. “My dad actually promised me a puppy if I scored, so that’s basically what I was thinking when I scored.” Mann started 81 of 82 games in her four-year career, and her last goal came on Oct. 9, 2013 in her sophomore season. “I haven’t scored in a couple years, so scoring off a free kick in a big game is always exciting,” Mann said. The rest of the second half was scoreless to force overtime. UWO senior goalkeeper Nina Muzi blocked a pair of shots, and junior Robyn Elliott had a shot blocked by DePauw goalie Riley Riordan in the first 10-minute overtime. Seewer missed a pair of shots wide left in the second overtime, before the game went to a shootout. Both teams missed in the first round, but Alyson Marzonie connected for the Tigers, and Caroline Zadina kicked the ball past Muzi to seal the victory. Oshkosh was shut out in the shootout. “The goalkeeper did a very good job for them,” Coppernoll said. “It just wasn’t meant to be.” Mann said a shootout loss is a difficult way to end the season, but the team played well overall. “It’s disappointing that we had to lose in a shootout, but I think the girls performed well, and we did what we could,” Mann said. “The weather was kind of gnarly, but other than that, I think we did well.” The temperature dipped below 40 degrees with whistling winds and occasional snowfall. UWO senior and Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Co-Defensive Player of the Year Ashley Siewert said the weather was not the reason for the loss. “That’s not an excuse for how you should or shouldn’t play,” Siewert said. “You have to go through adversities, and that’s just another one that we had to play through.” The Titans finished its season outscoring their opponents 46-17 and made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances for the first time ever. Christina Mauthe said she enjoyed her senior season with the team. “I loved every second of it,” Mauthe said. “I think this year, we made history and achieved many of our goals, so I couldn’t be happier ending this way.” One of the goals the Titans accomplished was winning the WIAC regular season championship for the first time in the program’s 23-year history. Oshkosh finished second in the final WIAC standings in 2013 and 2014 behind UW-Whitewater before putting an end to the Warhawks’ five-year conference title run this season. Coppernoll said the five seniors on the team set the tone following the Titans’ first-round loss in the tournament in 2014. “The minute our season ended last season, [the seniors] came in, and they were like, ‘We don’t want to be second best anymore. We want to be on the top,’” Coppernoll said. Mann said UWO’s two-year run will be remembered and hopes it has an influence on the future of the program. “I feel like the last two teams have made a lasting impact,” Mann said. “We did what we were supposed to do and left a legacy, so hopefully they can keep it rolling for the next few years.”