A year ago, Wisconsin was surprisingly left out of the NCAA tournament. They would not experience that same disappointment this year, receiving an at-large bid in the NCAA tournament.
Not only did the Badgers (5-2-4 Big Ten, 8-4-8 overall) get a spot in the tournament, but they also will be hosting.
And not only will the Badgers be hosting the game, they also will be hosting in-state rival Marquette University (7-2-0 Big East, 12-7-2 overall), whom they took down 2-0 the one time the teams matched up earlier this season.
This year’s trip to the tournament is Wisconsin’s 19th NCAA post-season appearance.
It’s safe to say that these two teams know a little bit about each other. Other than the fact they are about 80 miles away, the teams have previously met 13 times.
The Badgers lead the all-time series 6-5-2, possessing a 3-2-0 record at home. Wisconsin and Marquette are nothing but even when it comes to postseason play. The series record in the NCAA tournament is split at 1-1.
The Badgers are coming off a loss to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament, which went into penalty kicks. Bouncing back with a victory will certainly be the goal for Wisconsin.
In terms of offense and defense, Wisconsin won’t alter its game plan anymore than they have all year. On offense, they will hang their hat on senior midfielder Rose Lavelle, senior midfielder Michaela Powers and sophomore forward Emily Borgmann.
Lavelle leads the Badgers in points with 14, coming from five goals, four assists, and an impressive 69 shots. Powers also has 14 points, on four goals, six assists, and 39 shots. Borgmann follows with 12 points, coming from five goals, two assists, and 30 shots.
On defense, not only will the Badgers attempt to keep up their aggressive play throughout the match, but they will be relying on redshirt junior keeper Caitlyn Clem to do what she does night in night out.
Clem comes into this contest with 62 saves, eight shutouts, and a 79.5 save percentage.
Marquette’s defense will definitely have it’s hands full attempting to contain three powerful attackers, while also worrying about its offense and trying to sneak a shot past Wisconsin’s solid keeper.
The Badgers missing out on the tournament last year, scoring a spot this year, and hosting a first round game against an in-state rival all contribute to a wild amount of excitement for Friday’s contest. Fans from all over the state, not just Wisconsin’s campus, will be looking forward to a battle between two evenly matched teams both looking for something to prove.
Friday’s match will take place at the McClimon Soccer Complex at 7 p.m. Tickets are listed at $8 for adults and $4 for students and children.