Facing its last opponent before beginning Big Ten play, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team stretched its winning streak to six games with a 2-1 comeback victory over the Loyola-Chicago Ramblers on Sunday afternoon at McClimon Soccer Complex.
The game remained scoreless for most of the first half, in part due to the efforts of Badgers junior goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer, who had a key save on a header that rang through the stadium in the 25th minute. Even without a goal, Wisconsin (6-1) played strong offensively in the half, led by several attempted shots by sophomore forwards Lauren Rice and Cammie Murtha.
Despite being pinned in their own half, the Ramblers (3-5) needed only a split second to get their opportunity on a corner kick in the 41st minute. Ramblers freshman midfielder Abby Swanson buried it for the first goal of the game.
But, the Badgers’ turnaround was quick. Freshman forward Natalie Viggiano tied the game with a goal, assisted by senior forward Emily Borgmann, just two minutes later to make the game 1-1 at the half.
Wisconsin started the second half by conceding a few quick shots from Loyola, but that was the extent of the Ramblers pressure in the game. Taking command of the ball, the Badgers controlled the next half hour with multiple shots. Sophomore Sammy Kleedtke put consistent pressure on the Loyola goal off of multiple corner kicks.
Rice and senior Victoria Pickett proved a good pair, making a couple close plays at the start of the second half. Their chemistry paid off in the 68th minute when Pickett went down on a foul. Rice then scored the game-winner on the ensuing play off the free kick, assisted by sophomore Maia Cella.
Loyola intensified its attack in the final 20 minutes, but the Badgers' strong defense held serve. Junior Claire Shea kept the ball out of Wisconsin’s zone with numerous plays in the air to disrupt potential Rambler attacks.
The Badgers will need to continue their tight ball control in order to maintain their winning streak coming into their first Big Ten game against Northwestern this Friday, Sept. 14.