UWS women’s and men’s soccer teams find out opponents for NCAA tournament play

Published: Nov. 6, 2023 at 8:34 PM CST
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SUPERIOR, WI. (Northern News Now) - After becoming the first-ever team in women’s program history to three-peat as Upper Midwest Athletic Conference Regular season and Tourney champions, the UW-Superior women’s soccer team waited to see which team they would face in the first round of the Division III NCAA Championship Tournament.

The drawing puts UWS up against another UW System school in UW-La Crosse. La Crosse will be hosting the match due to their 17-1-1 record this year.

After the UMAC Championship game against Northwestern, head coach Allison Degroot believes her team is ready to do whatever it takes.

”I think the biggest strength of our team is that we’re fighters. We have huge hearts and we’re competitors,” said Degroot. “We have players that when the whistle blows, they are determined. On Saturday (The UMAC Championship), that’s how I felt. As soon as the game started, I just felt like the team had this grit, by any means necessary, we’re going to make this happen.”

Senior forward Niya Wilson was named the UMAC Tournament Most Valuable Player and is counting on the team’s chemistry to help them in the rest of their games.

”I think we’re a lot more comfortable, we return eleven starters, so we know each other, know how we play, know each other on the field, know each other off the field so it’s like a sense of trust I would say,” said Wilson.

The Yellowjackets women’s team will head to Veterans Memorial Sports Complex in La Crosse, Wis. on Nov. 11 for their first-round matchup at 1 p.m.

The men’s team is coming off their seventh straight UMAC championship and a 17-3-2 season but like the women’s team will be on the road as they drew St. Olaf for their first-round match who is 14-3-3 this year.

UWS has been to six straight NCAA Tournaments but since 2019′s second-round penalty-kick loss to Luther College they haven’t made it out of the first round.

This year for the Yellowjackets, they will be playing a fairly unfamiliar foe as they have only played St. Olaf seven times in program history.

The last two matchups were split between the teams with St. Olaf winning most recently in a 6-1 win on Oct. 5, 2021, when St. Olaf was ranked the No. 22 overall team in Division III. UWS won an early-season matchup between the two on Aug. 24, 2019, 3-0.

With the lack of games against their next opponent, head coach Joe Mooney and his team are looking forward to the challenge.

“I think that’s something that our guys kind of welcome, they embrace that challenge. It’s somebody new and we have to scout a different way, we have to prep a different way. When the first whistle blows and the game starts it’s like, it is truly unknown and I think our guys welcome that and charge forward with it,” said Mooney.

UMAC Tournament MVP Karsen Kletti knows the matchup will be a tough one but wants his team to go into the game with confidence.

”They’re a good squad, but so are we. It’ll be one of those things where we just have to be confident and we’re going to want to do our best,” said Kletti.

The men’s team will be traveling to Northfield, Minn. on Nov. 11 with their game starting at 11 a.m.

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