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UW-Green Bay women’s soccer gets ready to kick off the 2023 season

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UW-Green Bay defender Maddie Cruz faces an aggressive slide tackle from Bay Port High School graduate Emma Nagle of Duke in their preseason game on Sunday, Aug. 20 as the Phoenix prepare for the 2023 season. Tori Wittenbrock photo

By Tori Wittenbrock

Sports Reporter

GREEN BAY – The UW-Green Bay Phoenix Athletics program is getting ready for fall sports to get back into swing. With that, the women’s soccer team is ready to start their 2023 regular season.

After a couple of tough losses to Marquette University and UW-Madison in their early exhibition games, the Phoenix have also faced some tough teams in their early preseason games.

Aun unfortunate 4-1 loss to Kansas State gave the team a positive mark in their ‘goals for’ column going into their game against Drake on Sunday, Aug. 20. The Phoenix lost 1-0 to Drake from a goal scored in the first half that they were not able to reclaim throughout the rest of the game, despite two shots on goal and a few corner kicks.

After placing fourth overall in conference in the 2021 season, the team experienced a change in coaching staff for the 2022 season, with Phoenix Head Coach Julie Grutzner taking over the team.

The women’s soccer team placed last in the Horizon League conference last season, with an overall record of 3-11-2, and a conference record of 1-7-2.

During the season the team had 18 goals against and two goals for.

This places the Phoenix in an uphill battle going into the 2023 season, one they are preparing to face by playing difficult teams in the preseason. The Phoenix are optimistic about improving their overall record this year.

“With such a young team, I am looking forward to seeing growth throughout the season. I want to see our players battle hard, believe they can compete in every game and play with intensity. The Horizon League is a tough conference, so gaining confidence by scoring goals and challenging the top teams will be the keys to our success,” said Grutzner.

Coach Grutzner also said that the team faced some struggles last season and that she would like to see them change going into this year. She has some new goals for the team with a fresh roster.

“Creating a ‘Green Bay Identity.’ We are working hard to create a system of how we want to defend and how we want to attack. It is a work in progress, but we believe that this will help push our program to improve in the Horizon League conference,” Grutzner said.

The team is entering another rebuilding year for the program after seeing multiple girls graduate or transfer from the program. The team is now seeing a 2023 roster with 14 new players after also seeing large turnover last year, replacing 13 players out of a 28-player roster.

The team’s first conference game will be a home game played against Wright State on Sept. 14.

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