The Badgers’ postseason dreams of winning back-to-back Big Ten tournament titles came to an abrupt and harsh end in the tournament’s first round this Sunday, in which underdog No. 7 seed Ohio State beat the favorite No. 2 seed Wisconsin at McClimon Sports complex.
A two-goal lead for the Buckeyes in the first half proved sufficient to beat the Badgers, who were able to only find the back of the net once in the second half, despite a blitzkrieg of heartbreakingly close offensive attempts as the final minutes of the match quickly ticked away.
Wisconsin (8-2-1 Big Ten, 11-6-3 overall) clocked in 22 shots over the course of the game to Ohio State’s (5-4-2, 11-5-3) 10 shots. Wisconsin also won 9 corner kicks in total, while Ohio State did not get a single opportunity.
However, the detrimental four-minute Badger defensive lapse starting in the 30th minute of the first half provided the Buckeyes with enough opportunities to pull ahead.
A foul in Wisconsin’s box on Buckeye midfielder Michela Paradiso resulted in a penalty kick, which Paradiso converted on. In the 34th minute, Buckeye forward Sammy Edwards added insult to injury, heading the ball past sophomore goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem off of a cross by Buckeye defender Nicole Miyashiro.
In the second half, Wisconsin turned on the aggression, playing the majority of the half in Ohio State’s final third. Their efforts paid off in the 71st minute when senior forward Nikki Greenhalgh grabbed a loose ball off a tap from senior Brianna Stelzer and pushed it into the goal. The goal started with a corner kick from senior Kinley McNicoll.
Despite the Badgers’ efforts, Ohio State held on, squeaking by numerous close shots, including an attempt from junior Rose Lavelle that was deflected only by the right-hand corner.
While the Badgers are out early for the Big Ten tournament, there is still a chance they could receive an invite to play in the NCAA tournament later this year.
“We have to prepare and hope some things fall our way and use this game for motivation if that does happen,” head coach Paula Wilkins said.