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Like most programs, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team was left with a significant void to fill following the departure of last year’s senior class, namely at the forward position.With clutch performer Kodee Williams graduated and Cara Walls moved on to the Chicago Red Stars, the offense leaves behind 22 goals — half of the team’s total — and 12 game-winners from 2014.This season’s starting lineup includes a senior-studded defensive backline and a midfield with two reigning all-Big Ten selections in Kinley McNicoll and Rose Lavelle.Part of the dominance shown by the tandem was the result of a chemistry that takes years to develop. But with a win-now mentality on the frontline, UW head coach Paula Wilkins has called on some of the team’s veterans, like Lavelle, to take more goal-scoring initiative.Lavelle has already matched her goal total from last season with three in just four games. Last year, Lavelle thrived as the facilitator to Walls and Williams, assisting on 10 scores. But with so much versatility to offer as a midfielder, Wilkins said her transition to offensive striker has been long-awaited, and now as an immediate necessity to the team, it’s coming to fruition.“We thought she needed to be more in an attacking role last year anyway, so I think it’s something we’re going to encourage her to do more and more,” Wilkins said. “Overall, I think it’s going to be more of a group effort as opposed to the singular or dual effort that we did with the forwards last year.”Fifth-year senior Marisa Kresge also addressed the group-effort mentality, saying the forwards are looking for more ways to get involved and alleviate the pressure on Lavelle and fellow attacking midfielder McKenna Meuer. So far, Lavelle and Meuer have accounted for all 5 of the team’s goals this season.The key to their success, Kresge said, is maintaining better possession in the attacking half and allowing enough time for Lavelle to run up field and get into a scoring position.“If we can get high and hold balls and lay them off to her, she can get in a higher position, rather than having to dribble from the middle of our half all the way down and make like an 80 yard run,” Kresge said. “That’s something we’re focusing on, keeping balls and connecting our passes up top, because [Walls] was a great back-to-goal forward and could just sit on top of anybody and get into the right position.”Maintaining ball control and reducing turnovers on the attacking end of the field is another thing Wilkins is emphasizing, which she said has a negative domino effect for the rest of the team.Wilkins noted one moment in particular, when the team gave up two goals in two minutes to Pepperdine last weekend, as one example of an offensive-sparked miscue.“To limit what we give up, we have to keep the ball more in the front half,” Wilkins said. “And I think that goes back to the forwards.”Despite some of the early season mistakes, Wilkins has been pleased with some of the promise shown by the underclassmen. Several freshman and sophomore forwards have seen significant playing time, even in ranked games against Pepperdine and UCLA, as a result.Emily Borgmann is a freshman who has already played extended minutes this season, including two starts in just four games. She started against Pepperdine, recording one shot in the 51 minutes she played during the closely contested match.Having played in the U-17 World Cup for the Canadian national team, Borgmann is no stranger to facing elite competition. Looking back at the experience, Borgmann said the pace of play is very similar to Division I, which continues to help her confidence with the transition.“Playing against the U.S. U-17 was a good comparison to the Big Ten because they’re really physical and fast,” Borgmann said. “And I think that made me more prepared.”With conference foes Penn State and Michigan fully loaded this season, repeating as Big Ten champs will be a ruthless task for the Badgers, and the team knows it will likely need more than just Lavelle and Meuer scoring goals to get it done.Time will tell if the supporting cast is ready to accept the call.