Clem, Badgers hoping to stifle Spartans in East Lansing

After battling a strong Nebraska team at home, a game that in a 1-1 tie after two overtimes, gaining a victory against Iowa and another draw with Michigan, the Wisconsin Badgers (3-2-3 Big Ten, 6-4-6 overall) are ready to head to East Lansing to add one more victory to their résumé against a weak Michigan State Spartans team (2-6-0, 5-9-1).

Wisconsin hopes to keep up the defensive intensity it’s had going in those past three games. The Badgers have only allowed two goals in their last four games, thanks not only to redshirt junior goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem, but also the entire defensive line.

On offense, the Badgers will be counting on their usual stars to produce the firepower against the Spartans’ defense. MSU holds a 3-4-1 home record, which in turn will motivate the Badgers to just keep pushing forward with intensity.

Senior midfielder Michaela Powers leads Wisconsin with 11 points coming from three goals and five assists. Behind her is senior midfielder Rose Lavelle and sophomore forward Emily Borgmann, who each has nine points on the year. Lavelle’s points are from three goals and three assists, while Borgmann’s are from four goals and one assist.

Fans should be expecting big things from all three of those players.

Badger and Spartan fans should also keep an eye out for freshman forward Dani Rhodes, who has proven to be electric key part of this Badgers’ offense down the stretch. Rhodes put the tying goal in against Nebraska and scored the winning overtime goal versus a strong Minnesota team in Minneapolis.

On the defensive side, Clem’s dominant play should be a strike fear in the hearts of Michigan State players. Clem has produced six shutouts this season for Wisconsin, ranking third in the Big Ten.

All aspects of this game point to a Wisconsin victory, especially the fact the Spartans are coming off two tough conference losses this past week on the road.

The Spartans’ weak record cannot get in the heads of Wisconsin players, though. The Badgers will need to focus on Michigan State’s two offensive studs, freshman midfielder Hannah Jones and senior defenseman Marisa Oleksiak.

Jones and Oleksiak lead the Spartans with four goals a piece. Oleksiak has 10 points on the season, while Jones has nine. These two will be a strong focus point for a tough Wisconsin defense, which has shown its ability to fight back in close games all season.

The game will take place at DeMartin Soccer Stadium in East Lansing, Mich., at noon on Sunday.

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