Head coach Paula Wilkins and her young Wisconsin (1-1-2) team are headed west this weekend to take on No. 2 Stanford (3-0-0) on Thursday and No. 22 Santa Clara (2-2-0) on Sunday. The two games will be the Badgers’ first chance to take on ranked opponents this season and should come as a welcome challenge.
The Badgers currently sit at 1-1-2 and are coming off a weekend that ended in two double-overtime draws against Milwaukee and Drake. Although Wisconsin dominated offensively in both games, the Badgers still only have two goals on the season, coming from Micaela Powers and Dani Rhodes. Senior Rose Lavelle leads the Badgers in both shots and shots on goal, tallying eight shots in last Sunday’s game against Drake alone.
Looking forward, Stanford has a lot of momentum coming into Thursday’s game after a nail-biting 1-0 overtime win against No. 6 Florida last week.
What the Badgers should be seriously concerned about, however, is the Cardinal’s goaltender, Jane Campbell. The senior has earned 31 career shutouts, including in her most recent outing against Florida, and has proven to be an intimidating presence for even the most experienced scorers.
On the offensive side of the game, the Stanford player to watch would be Jordan DiBiasi, a top-three returning scorer from last season. This year, the sophomore has scored two goals, a team high—one of those being the overtime game winner their last time out.
Historically, this series is tied 2-2, but the Cardinals have won the last two meetings between the teams. In addition, don’t look for this game to be high scoring: Stanford has not allowed more than two goals at home since 1998, a streak longer than some of the freshmen have been alive.
On Sunday, the Badgers will face off against Santa Clara, a team coming off of two consecutive road losses at Washington and Washington State last weekend. The Broncos have been dominant in all their home matches thus far though, with wins over two ranked opponents — No. 11 USC and No. 18 Cal.
The Badgers should be aware of Jordan Jesolva, who leads Santa Clara with two goals and one assist on the season. The senior also leads the team in shots and shots on goal, and with the strength of their schedule, that is significant.
It is worth noting that Santa Clara and Wisconsin have not played each other since 1991, the only other time the teams have met. That game was a 1-0 win for the Badgers.
Thursday’s game will start at 9:00 p.m. and will be televised on the Pac-12 Network, while Sunday’s game will kickoff at 2:00 p.m. and be televised on The W.