The UW Oshkosh women’s soccer team cruised to a 5-0 victory over Marian University on Monday at J.J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium.
Five Titans scored on Monday night. This proved to be the most goals the Titans have scored in a match this season.
Sophomore forward Alek Kleis got the Titans on the board first in the 18th minute when she connected on a 5-yard shot. This was Kleis’ third goal of the season, and second goal in two games.
“Alek Kleis has been turning up the heat lately,” UWO head coach Erin Coppernoll said. “She has been performing better and better each day and especially the last few games.”
UWO (9-7-1) continued the onslaught when Robyn Elliott played AJ Jackson in the 29th minute. That pass led to Jackson’s fourth goal of the season and gave the Titans a 2-0 advantage going into the half.
Coming out of the half, the offensive power did not stop as Rachel Elliott added to the lead, making the score 3-0. Her goal came in the 49th minute and Alyssa Arnold was credited with the assist. This was Rachel’s fifth goal of her senior season.
Alyssa said she has seen significant improvement from the offense in recent weeks.
“I think we’ve been working really hard on offense to put the opportunities we get in the back of the net,” Alyssa said. “Every game, we want to be dangerous on the attack and hungry to score goals.”
Alyssa tallied a total of four shots in the match against Marian University (4-12).
The hunger to score continued once Maddie Morris and Robyn connected on passes that set up Ashley Baalke’s 15-yard strike that found the back of the net in the 76th minute to make the score 4-0.
Sophomore Taylor Arnold had three total shots in the contest and added an insurance goal in the 87th minute. This final goal of the match gave the Titans a 5-0 lead.
Kleis said the Titan offense finally found its sync and performed well when they needed to.
“The offense is always a strong unit,” Kleis said. “[We] have to take our opportunities to shoot when they are presented.”
The Titans accumulated 30 shots in the entire contest, while holding Marian University to zero. Madelyn Runyan earned her fourth career shutout in her eighth start in goal.
The Titans played to their roots and found a rhythm on the offensive side of the ball, Coppernoll said.
“We are starting to gel on all levels [offense and defense],” Coppernoll said. “We know that we will always get opportunities at shots. It’s a matter of putting them in when we get the chance.”
Coppernoll said she saw some positive things happen during the match.
“Our team indeed played ‘Oshkosh soccer’ the entire game,” Coppernoll said. “I still think we haven’t peaked yet so I am excited to see that moment. I’m hopeful it is yet to come.”
Players, on an individual level, hold themselves accountable to play at the standard of Oshkosh soccer and practice what coach preaches, Alyssa said.
“Every time I step out on the pitch I want to be a good leader, regardless if it is a good game or bad game,” Alyssa said. “I also expect myself to leave it all out on the field every game. I never want to walk away thinking I wish I would have done this, or I could have done that.”
The Titans defeated the UW -Eau Claire Blugolds 1-0 on Saturday in Eau Claire.
It was a defensive battle, but the Titans proved to be the victor after a Kleis game-winner in the 76th minute. Morris was credited with the assist.
“The goal came from the only shot that I took that entire game,” Kleis said. “You can’t score if you don’t take the shots, so when you get the opportunity to take shot you need to keep your head down and strike the ball.”
Coppernoll said Kleis has stepped up her game recently.
“[Alek] can strike a ball really well and has been making herself dangerous in the final third,” Coppernoll said. “This a great time of year to be getting hot as a forward.”
Oshkosh has won the last six matches against Eau Claire. Not only have the Titans won all six games, but also they have held Eau Claire scoreless in them as well.
Coppernoll said the Titans found success defensively against the Blugolds, but the team did not do anything differently to prepare for it.
“We have done nothing different against Eau Claire than anyone else,” Coppernoll said. “I think it might be a case of individual matchups rather than playing a different scheme of defense. Our defense did a good job of keeping a clean sheet on Saturday.”
The Titan defense, led by Felicia Retrum and Erin Gruber, helped secure the 1-0 lead late in the second half. This shutout victory led to another clean sheet from Runyan.
The Oshkosh women’s soccer team is now 3-3 in Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference competition. Coppernoll said she is not satisfied with that record.
“Our conference play has been inconsistent,” Coppernoll said. “We play right there with a top quality team such as Whitewater but then struggle against teams that are under .500. I do think we are playing better ball than we did one week ago. Getting a road result against a good Eau Claire team was key.”
UWO hosts UW-La Crosse on Saturday Oct. 29 at J. J. Keller Field at Titan Stadium in its final regular-season match.