After last week’s loss at Indiana, the Wisconsin Badgers (2-2-1 Big Ten, 5-4-4 overall) traveled 267 miles west to Minneapolis and put their frustration into action, snagging their biggest win of the season so far in a 1-0 overtime thriller against No. 8 Minnesota (3-1-1, 9-3-1) Saturday.
The Badgers got off to an early start, as senior midfielder Micaela Powers, senior midfielder Rose Lavelle and freshman defender Camryn Biegalski all created chances, but were unable to find the back of the net.
In the second half, the Badgers tallied four shots and the Gophers five, but neither team was able to capitalize and the game went into overtime in a scoreless tie.
In the 99th minute, freshman forward Dani Rhodes knocked one into the net from the 6-yard box after a few missed kicks by Gopher defenders, giving the Badgers a 1-0 victory and taking the Border Battle for the third year in a row, this time in upset fashion.
Head coach Paula Wilkins gave her star freshman Rhodes a glowing review after the game.
"She's a goal-scoring type of kid, she has a knack for it and she's done a good job setting herself in the right place at the right time and that's why she's scoring goals," Wilkins said. "This was a huge game and moment for her. She's just coming into the game and she's already making a difference."
Defensively, the game was extremely physical and evenly matched, with 31 total fouls called by the referees.
"I think we defended amazingly as a team," Wilkins said. "We asked them to do a lot of double-teaming on the field. We covered a lot of ground and were able to do that and I think something that teams should walk away with, other than the victory, should be being proud of the way that they played as a group."
Lavelle led the team in shots with three, while sophomore forward Emily Borgmann recorded two. Both Powers and Rhodes notched a shot on goal apiece.
Junior goaltender Caitlyn Clem proved to be unstoppable in net, tallying three saves. Tarah Hobbs, the goaltender for Minnesota, collected one.
Wilkins praised her team for their execution to pull off the upset.
"I'm really proud of the team because this week we came to them with a game plan and it was going to take all of them with maximum effort in order to pull it off," Wilkins said. "They did exactly what we wanted and I'm extremely proud that they were able to do it."
She also understood the magnitude of the upset victory on the road against a stellar team.
"Huge credit to Minnesota, I have to tell you that after watching film, I think this is one of the best Minnesota teams that I've seen in the years working at Wisconsin. I think to get the win is just something we needed at the moment to give us a little bit of confidence moving forward, but big respect to Minnesota as they obviously are a great team that causes a lot of problems."
The Badgers return to McClimon Soccer Complex Thursday night at 7 p.m. for a home game against Nebraska.