In the wake of two hard fought 0-0 draws at home, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s soccer team (5-1-3 Big Ten, 11-2-3 overall) are back in form after going three for three on their road trip.
Beginning in Bloomington, the Badgers took down the Indiana Hoosiers (3-6-0, 7-7-2) 2-1 last Friday.
The Badgers went down early with a goal by redshirt senior Mykayla Brown in the 15th minute of the game.
After a goal from sophomore forward Cameron Murtha, assisted by junior defender Camryn Biegalski in the 51st minute, sophomore forward Lauren Rice scored an unbelievable goal with her left foot to seal the Badgers’ victory with 16 minutes remaining in the game.
The goal developed from a good sequence by the Badger offense. Senior midfielder Victoria Pickett exhibited her keen ability to bring the ball safely through the midfield, finding senior midfielder Alexis Tye with a pass into the Hoosiers half. Tye found Rice in space on the right wing and after a clever in-and-out move to shed her defender, Rice found the top left of the goal open for a left-footed laser to clinch the 2-1 victory.
After a day of rest, the Badgers traveled north to West Lafayette to take on the Purdue Boilermakers (1-5-3, 6-6-4). The game was well contested, with both teams going even on shots at 10 a piece, but the Badgers had six shots on goal compared to Purdue’s three.
A goal by super sub Emily Borgmann just before the end of the first half sealed the 10th victory of the season for the Badgers, and the milestone mark of 250 wins for Coach Paula Wilkins. Junior goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer and the Badgers’ defense were solid throughout the game, with Bloomer recording three saves in Wisconsin’s fifth shutout of the season.
Nearly a week later, the Badgers faced the Minnesota Gophers (8-7-1, 4-4-1 in conf.) and came home victorious in a 3-2 thriller.
Senior forward April Bockin was lethal for the Golden Gophers, scoring both of their goals, for her seventh and eighth of the season with some crafty play up front.
Minnesota took an early lead when Bockin scored after only four minutes of play. Trailing 1-0 entering the second half, the Badgers equalized.
A great through ball by Biegalski behind the Minnesota back line was chased down by Pickett. The midfielder controlled it into the box and crossed to junior forward Dani Rhodes who chipped it past Minnesota goalkeeper Maddie Nielsen.
The Gopher defense tried to play a high back line in the second half, but the Badgers found opportunities with penetrating through balls finding players on the end of long runs. Another Wisconsin goal came four minutes after their first, with Biegalski scoring her first goal of the season, assisted by junior defender Claire Shea.
However, Minnesota freshman Megan Gray found space on the right wing and found Bockin with a cross. Bockin then transferred the ball to the far post past the diving Jordyn Bloomer to tie up the game at 2-2.
After an exciting half and with time winding down, all signs indicated that the game was going to head into overtime. But an action packed final 90 seconds found the Badgers to come away on top.
Bockin once again threatened to score, but an amazing save by Bloomer saved the Badgers from defeat. Lauren Rice then found the ball and took it coast to coast. The in-form forward finished with a strike from outside the box that found the side netting to give the Badgers the game winner at 3-2 with 40 seconds remaining, completing UW’s three-game road trip in thrilling fashion.
With a huge final home game against a tough Nebraska Cornhuskers (4-1-3, 8-4-4) team that has stumbled recently, they took two draws and a loss in their last three matchups.
UW fans will hope Rice can maintain her excellent form against the Huskers. With two stunning, game-winning goals over the Badgers last three games, another strong performance could be enough to give the No. 22 Badgers the edge.