The No. 14 Wisconsin woman’s soccer team (1-2, Big Ten, 7-3 overall) bounced back from a loss to Penn State last weekend with a 1-0 victory over the Michigan State Spartans (1-2, 7-3-1) Friday night.
The Badgers came out strong in the first half, as freshman midfielder McKenna Meuer found the back of the net in the 26th minute of play. Meuer found herself with space at the top of the box after executing a give-and-go pass with senior midfielder Monica Lam-Feist.
“I made the pass to her out wide, which opened up space in the middle,” Meuer said. “She passed it back to me and I saw that I was right at the top of the box, so the first thing in my head to do was to take a touch, and take a shot on goal.”
“We wanted to work on transition defensively,” head coach Paula Wilkins said. “I thought we were giving them too much time on the ball.”
Possession and defense were also keys to victory for the Badgers in a low scoring match. Wisconsin’s goalkeeper Lauren Gunderson had another outstanding outing, making six saves for the team’s fourth shutout this season.
“For her to get a shutout was important for us,” Wilkins said. “They have confidence playing through her in the back.”
In front of a great crowd, the Badgers picked up a key win for their season.
“It’s awesome. When you win in the Big Ten you know you’ve had great competition,” Meuer said. “Michigan State is a good team, so a win against them is a step in the right direction.”
The Wisconsin women’s soccer team played host to the Michigan Wolverines on Sunday, dropping the weekend finale 3-0 at the McClimon Complex and snapping their five-game home winning streak in the process. It was Michigan’s fifth straight shutout victory.
The 14th ranked Badgers had trouble containing junior Nkem Ezurike, the standout Michigan forward who competed for Canada in the U-20 FIFA World Cup earlier this month, as she netted a goal early in each half.
Ezurike opened the scoring in the 16th minute with a low ball from the top of the box to beat Badger redshirt senior goalkeeper Lauren Gunderson. Ezurike struck again in the opening minute of the second half after a Wisconsin turnover. An errant Wisconsin pass in the defensive third of the field proved costly as it allowed her to create separation and finish a simple one-on-one against Gunderson. Freshman Christina Ordonez found the back of the net in the 78th minute to cap off the scoring for the Wolverines.
On the other end of the field, the Badgers were unable to advance the ball very often, putting only one shot on goal before a small flurry late in the second half after the game was put out of reach.Michigan’s defense clogged the middle of the field and was consistently first to the ball, not allowing the Badger forwards to create many opportunities. The offensive struggles led to UW tallying only two corner kicks, matching their season low.
It appeared that the Badgers might get on the board in the final minutes as Michigan left a few rebounds in front of their net. UW could not corral any of the loose balls before a shot was ultimately sent wide of the goal. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Haley Kopmayer made four saves, most of which were routine and unpressured, not presenting much of a challenge.
The Badgers appeared out of sorts as they left attackers unmarked, got beat to the spot and missed on an array of passes. Once in the hole, the Badgers proved to be in over their heads against a Michigan team that has excelled on the defensive side of the ball.