first_imgWisconsin did not want to start its conference season this way.The Badgers took a 1-0 loss Sunday against the Boilermakers of Purdue, dropping the team to 0-2 in Big Ten play. UW came out slow again, which has been the case as of late.“We need to come out confident in our abilities and not be scared of another team right off the bat and wait to see what they’re going to do to us,” freshman Laurie Nosbusch said. “We picked it up in the second half, but we were down and just weren’t able to get a goal.”Wisconsin struggled to get anything going in the first half, putting up just one shot to five for Purdue. The Boilermakers put three of their five shots on goal in the first half, including the eventual game-winner by Loredana Riverso in the 32nd minute.The Badgers came out strong once again in the second, outshooting the Boilermakers 9-5, but they failed to find the back of the net on any of their shots.“Our mindset today just wasn’t there in the first half,” senior goalkeeper Jamie Klages said. “We had some flurries of strong play [in the second half], but we just weren’t ready to play.”With a pair of 1-0 victories this weekend, Purdue is tied with Michigan State for first place in the Big Ten. Wisconsin, however, joins Indiana in last place with a 0-2 start.The losses are most troubling for the Badgers because they believe they have the talent to play with teams like Purdue and Illinois but failed to come out ready to play.“I absolutely think we could have won two games this weekend,” Wilkins said. “I think these are missed opportunities. Obviously it’s my job to make sure our team is focused and prepared to be able to get results, and I have to do a better job.”Wisconsin began conference play Friday with a hard-fought 2-1 loss to Illinois. The Badgers were plagued by another slow start as they allowed the Illini to take a 2-0 lead just over 36 minutes into the game.Illinois started fast, as senior Marti Desjarlais scored in the 15th minute on an assist from senior Jessica Levitt. Illinois’ second goal came just over 20 minutes later as Levitt scored on a rebound following a shot by junior Jackie Santacaterina.“I hate anybody scoring goals, [but] it was a little disappointing,” Klages said. “I had my chance at it. I could have gotten the second one, and I didn’t.”After going into halftime down 2-0, Wisconsin came out strong in the second half. Junior Stephanie Krombach put the Badgers on the board 32 seconds into the half with a shot from just outside the box, assisted by Krista Liskevych.“We really needed that goal. It was a great goal, and I’m glad that Stephanie was the one that scored it,” senior Taylor Walsh said. “Even though we didn’t end up winning, her goal was still important because it fired everyone up and boosted morale.”Walsh returned to the Badgers’ lineup this weekend for the first time in three games after aggravating a knee injury Sept. 12 against Boston University. Although she played less than half of each game, it was a step in the right direction for Wisconsin’s offensive captain.“I was very happy to get back out on the field,” Walsh said “This weekend was definitely not something I wanted to miss, so it was good to play again.”Following the goal by Krombach, the Badgers seemed to have the momentum but were not able to capitalize again. Several scoring opportunities were wasted, including a pair of shots on goal by Krombach and six corner kicks.Despite being unable to complete the comeback, Wisconsin was confident following Friday’s game, motivated by their strong play down the stretch and ready for Sunday against Purdue.“I talked to them about building confidence,” Wilkins said. “[We talked about] not worrying so much about the outcome, but still talking about the process. They have to feel as they walk off the field right now that they can compete with teams like Illinois.”Unfortunately, that confidence and motivation seemed to get lost between Friday and Sunday, as Wisconsin came out very flat against Purdue.“In the first game against Illinois, I was proud of the way they played, especially in the second half,” Wilkins said. “I was very disappointed with our effort against Purdue. I have to go back and look at how to help the team refocus and decide what type of team we want to be.”last_img read more