The Badgers’ women’s soccer team was able to pick up their first win of the season on Saturday as they defeated a talented McMaster team that started the season ranked eighth in the country (they have since fallen out of the top 10) and placed fourth in last years’ U Sports Championship. Right in the middle of it as always was All-Star goalkeeper Marilena Spagnolo, who stopped a career-high 16 saves to record the shutout. The Marauders fired 28 shots during the game, but were unable to find the back of the net for the third straight game; the last Marauder goal came back on September 1.
On the offensive side of the ball, the usually defensive-minded Badgers were able to put up two goals, the first coming from rookie midfielder Ivana Kanisek — her first as a Badger — and the second courtesy of Sidney Sica, also her first of the year.
Not only was this the first win of the year for the Badgers, but it was also the first game interim head coach Lucio Ianiero has won with the women. Ianiero has been at the helm of the men’s program for four years now, but he sees these added responsibilities as an opportunity for growth.
“I’m just an interim guy right now, but if [Brock] wants to keep me as head coach [of the women’s team] then by all means I’ll greatly accept that,” said Ianiero. “We want to build a program here with both the men’s and women’s varsity and hopefully it’s an opportunity that Brock sees we can build on. We hope that Brock recognizes the work that’s been done by the coaching staff and seeing the difference in how the girls are playing.”
The team played up to Ianiero’s high-tempo style, but one of the casualties was striker Erica D’Alesio, who went down with a lower body injury in the second half and did not return.
“We know it’s [muscle] cramps that she was getting, she does a lot of work out there so we’ve got to look at her nutrition, how she’s preparing for games — not just game day but a couple nights before and hopefully we can rectify that soon,” said Ianiero. “That’s a couple games now where she’s come up with some cramps, so it’s a bit concerning.”
Perhaps the fatigue caught up with the Badgers on Sunday, as they travelled to Toronto to kick off a stretch of five consecutive road games. They ended up tying the York Lions 0-0 for their third tie of the season. Spagnolo recorded her second straight shutout (third on the year) and kept the Badgers in a game where they were outshot 15-5. The now 1-1-3 Badgers sit fifth in the OUA West.
The Badgers will travel to London and Windsor this weekend to take on the first place Mustangs and the eighth place Lancers.