There was no shortage of excitement in Thursday night’s thriller between the Wisconsin Badgers (5-4-5 overall, 2-2-2 Big Ten) and the Nebraska Cornhuskers (9-4-1, 3-2-1), which ultimately ended in a 1-1 tie after two overtimes.
Wisconsin started the game with two early shots by sophomore forward Sydney McGinnis, however both sailed just past the bar, one going high, one going wide.
The game went back and forth from the first whistle up until Nebraska found the back of the net thanks to a corner from senior midfielder Sydney Miramontez, which was put away by junior midfielder Haley Hanson in the 34th minute.
The Badgers were not willing to sit back and play passive after Nebraska’s goal. Wisconsin kept attacking hard and looking for chances, and those chances kept coming. Sophomore Dani Rhodes put one just wide and senior midfielder Rose Lavelle sent one slightly above the top bar.
After that first goal, the game managed to stay 1-0 in Nebraska’s favor until Rhodes took matters into her own hands.
She blew by several defenders and had a flashy, side-step move on her way to a goal in the 83rd minute, her third on the season.
Regulation ended in a 1-1 tie, with both teams attacking heavily while also managing to keep up their defensive intensity.
The two teams were all over the field defensively, going back and forth the entire game. There wasn’t a player on the field who was unwilling to make some rough slide tackles or get physical with the ball carrier.
The referees let the girls play through just about everything. At the end of the match, Wisconsin had 12 fouls, Nebraska had eight. Each team was given one yellow card in the second half. For Nebraska it was sophomore midfielder and defenseman Caroline Buelt in the 63rd minute. On the Badgers’ side it was McGinnis in the 79th minute.
“I think we could have done a little bit better on handling their corner kicks, and I think we could have been a bit more organized on the set piece,” head coach Paula Wilkins said after Thursday’s game. “Those are two important things that can change the tide of a game.”
Nebraska had five corner kicks in the first half, eight total, the first four being unsuccessful before they finally struck gold with number five to break the 0-0 tie. Wisconsin finished the game with only one corner.
Once regulation ended, the fans were treated to 20 minutes of nail-biting action before the game was declared over.
Nebraska managed to take two shots in the first overtime. Wisconsin couldn’t seem to break through Nebraska’s tough defense, ending overtime number one with zero shots.
In the second overtime Wisconsin mustered up one shot on goal, courtesy of freshman midfielder Allie Winterfield. Nebraska was held with zero shots in the second overtime.
Thursday’s game was Wisconsin’s seventh overtime game of the season.
“You know, they’ve been able to do this [fight back] all season. They’ve come back from being tied and being down and I have great respect for them for that,” Wilkins said. “They don’t give up. They keep trudging along and that’s very important.”
UW outshot Nebraska 11-10 on the night, with McGinnis leading the way with three shots. Lavelle and Rhodes both added two shots of their own, Rhodes second shot being the eventual equalizer. Three other Wisconsin players also contributed one shot.
On the defensive side, Wisconsin’s redshirt junior goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem finished with four saves, matching Nebraska’s freshman keeper Aubrei Corder.
The Badgers will stay at home this weekend, taking on the University of Iowa at 1 p.m. Sunday. Prior to the game, UW will recognize its senior players for one of the last home games of their careers.