Looking for its first Elite Eight appearance since 1991, the Wisconsin women's soccer team went into Chestnut, Mass. Friday night hoping to pull off an upset win over No. 7 Boston College. But the Badgers did not contain the Eagles' explosive offense and fell 1-0 at Newton Soccer Field.
Over the course of the game, the Badgers were outshot by a 21-7 margin. Wisconsin junior goalkeeper Michele Dalton saved seven of the eight shots on goal, but the one she missed proved costly for the Badgers, who were incapable of generating enough offense to match BC.
The Badgers held the Eagles scoreless for the entire first half, and it wasn't until the 61st minute that BC finally hit the back of Wisconsin's net. BC freshman forward Victoria DiMartino drew a foul from Wisconsin junior defender Taryn Francel after the two collided, which set up an Eagle free-kick opportunity about 22 yards from the goal. Boston College junior forward Brooke Knowlton placed the ball out of Dalton's reach in the upper corner of the net for the game-winner.
Wisconsin could not respond to BC's goal and produced only two shots on net during the entire match. Its other opportunities came off freshman defender Lindsey Johnson's trademark flip throw-ins that were placed directly in the box, but no Badger was in the right spot to put the ball away.
Despite the loss, head coach Paula Wilkins was happy with the progress the team made this year and tipped her hat to BC.
""I'm disappointed with the loss, but I am extremely proud of my players and how far they have come this season,"" Wilkins said. ""I think that Boston College is a very good team with some great players that can attack 1 v 1. They are very dynamic and obviously caused some problems, and you can understand why they won the ACC.""
With such a radical turnaround from last year's 10th-place Big Ten finish and so much young talent on the team, one cannot help but look to next season and wonder what the Badgers can achieve.
Wilkins hopes her squad can build on this year and acknowledged there may be more expectations of next year's Badgers.
""I hope [we can build on this year],"" Wilkins said.
""I think that having this much success pretty fast will put a little bit more pressure on them. I think, again, we go back and say ‘we need to get better every game' and next year, you know, we'll have a whole different team, and so we're just trying to try and build on this year.""
—uwbadgers.com contributed to their report.