Defense Leads 'Cats To Best Start In 14 Years

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM Kelli Pawelko has keyed a stingy Bearcats defense this season.
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Kelli Pawelko has keyed a stingy Bearcats defense this season.
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Women's Soccer |

Aug. 30, 2010

By Jeff Geiser
GoBEARCATS.com

On the strength of a stout defensive effort, the UC women's soccer team defeated No. 20 Wisconsin 1-0 Sunday to cap off a successful showing at the Wisconsin Tournament in Madison, Wis. last weekend.

The Bearcats, who also played Northwestern to a 0-0 tie on Friday, now own a 3-0-1 overall record and are unbeaten after four matches for the first time since 1996.

UC head coach Michelle Salmoncredits her team's training heading into the first road trip of the season.

"We came up here and obviously knew we were going to play two really good opponents - Northwestern, who just beat (No. 3) UCLA today, and Wisconsin," said Salmon as her team was returning to Cincinnati. "We had to prepare for it and I'm proud of the way the girls prepared. They were focused."

After completing two shutouts this past weekend, the UC defense is quickly becoming the strength of the team.

Junior defenders Kay Young and Kelli Pawelkowere catalysts in neutralizing a Badgers offense that went to a five-forward lineup in the game's closing minutes.

In addition to her strong defensive play, Pawelko also provided the lone goal of the day. After UC gained the advantage off of a free kick, Pawelko soared a shot over UW's goalkeeper and into the upper right corner of the net with 32:19 left in the second half. The goal was the first of the Lemont, Ill. native's career and along with her defensive efforts earned her BIG EAST Defensive Player of the Week honors.

"Kelli (Pawelko) played outstanding this weekend and is really coming into her own," Salmon said. "She recognized that the keeper was off her line and went for it."

Senior goalkeeper Rachel Barnetterecorded her second consecutive shutout after stopping three Badger shots on goal. Barnette, a transfer from North Carolina State, now has three shutouts as a Bearcat and five overall for her career.

"Obviously, Rachel (Barnette) played phenomenal today and against Northwestern," said Salmon. "She keeps getting better and she'll continue to get better. Rachel really took her game this summer seriously. She went out and she trained and worked hard. She did all of the training when no one was looking."

Offensively, last year's top two scorers Emily Hebbeler and Kendall Logginshave picked up right where they left off and carried the load so far this season. Hebbeler, a redshirt junior forward from Park Hills, Ky., leads the team with two goals.

"When you look at a player like Emily Hebbeler; she's not good by accident or coincidence," said Salmon. "She's good because she makes her game better and she's not complacent."

Although Loggins, a senior forward from Naperville, Ill., has yet to tally a goal to her credit thus far, she has been responsible for creating multiple scoring opportunities for the Bearcat attack.

"Kendall is probably playing the best soccer up top that she's played in her career," said Salmon. "And if you look back, probably three-fourths of our goals were created by Kendall and her work right off the ball."

The Bearcats next match is scheduled for a 7 p.m. kickoff on Friday vs. the College of Charleston at Gettler Stadium. It will be one of two homes contests this weekend for UC, with Western Michigan coming to town on Sunday for a 1 p.m. match-up.


 

 

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