After tough start on the road, the Badgers have hit their stride in Big Ten play at home

In their second weekend of conference play, the Badgers have the chance to extend their two-game Big Ten winning streak at home Friday against rival No. 11 Minnesota, currently undefeated in conference.

The Badgers ( 2-1-1 Big Ten, 5-4-3 overall), started off their conference season in shaky fashion with a week of away games, losing against a tough No. 4 Penn State team and then drawing against No. 20 Ohio State in a scoreless, double-overtime game. 

But against Indiana and Purdue last weekend at the McClimon Sports Complex last weekend, the Badgers prevailed, solidly winning both games.

Against Indiana (0-2-2, 3-5-4) last Friday, an explosive three goals in the first half for the Wisconsin offense pushed the game thoroughly out of reach for the Hoosiers, despite their renewed offensive burst of pressure in the second half. 

Purdue (1-2-0, 6-4-0) posed more of a challenge for the Badgers last Sunday, forcing Wisconsin to hold on in the second half for their win, thanks to McKenna Meurer’s header goal off a free kick that gave the team the lead in the 32nd minute.

Although Wisconsin seems to have found a promising rhythm, the Gophers (4-0-0, 9-1-2) are currently atop the Big Ten with four wins, and made waves on their first conference road trip, when it beat Ohio State 2-1 and took down a heavily favored Penn State 1-0, both teams Wisconsin struggled mightily against two weeks ago.

If the Badgers hope to win against a formidable Gopher team that is comfortable playing on the road, they will need to replicate the performance they had against Indiana last Friday. 

Minnesota has not had the same problem scoring early in the season, which has plagued the Badgers in recent weeks. With an average of 13.3 shots per game, the Gophers net more than two goals per game on average. 

In contrast, Wisconsin has averaged a greater 14.7 shots per game, but converts far less, scoring just over a goal per game. 

Kickoff is Friday at 6 p.m. at the McClimon Sports Complex, with all students who present their Wiscard getting in free. There will also be a free soccer scarf giveaway while supplies last. 

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