After a red hot start to its season, the UW women’s soccer team (7-1-0) looked to continue its stellar play into its first Big Ten matchup of the season. Although the Badgers looked a little gassed at times against Minnesota (4-2-2), they solved the Golden Gophers’ riddle and pulled out a hard-fought 1-0 win in overtime.
The game started as expected, with the No. 9 Badgers asserting themselves with crisp passes and a well-oiled forward attack. However, while the Badgers seemed in control, there were very few shots on goal produced due to the tightly knit Golden Gophers defense. Sophomore forward, Dani Rhodes, admitted that the Gophers' defense was intense, but was pleased with her team’s response.
“Obviously the Big Ten brings a whole new level and starting with Minnesota, it was intense from the get-go,” Rhodes said. “However, we did a great job of coming out strong and staying together as a team.”
The Badgers did come together, but it wasn’t until several attempts at net during the second half and a tough overtime that they came through with the win.
“We were kind of playing into what they wanted us to do, and I don’t think we were playing our game either,” Rhodes said. “Towards the end we buckled down, said we were gonna play our game, and that’s why we dominated.”
Dominated they did, as the Badgers improved their win streak to six games.
After getting into the teeth of Minnesota’s defense, Rhodes sized up her defender, picked her spot and drilled a beautiful goal into the back of the net.
“I settled in a little bit, waiting for her to move,” Rhodes said. “She didn’t step one way or the other, so I just picked a spot and buried it.”
And while the Badgers looked strong Saturday night, they know they have a lot of room to grow.
“We’re a talented group,” Rhodes said. “But we have more games to win and a long way to go.”
The Badgers look to continue their success against Michigan State next Thursday at the McClimon Track/Soccer Complex. Play begins at 8 p.m.