The Wisconsin Badgers women’s soccer team (6-2-3 Big Ten, 12-3-3 overall) concluded their regular season with a 2-1 loss on the road against Ohio State (6-2-3, 9-5-3).
Both teams entered the game in good form with Wisconsin unbeaten in its previous seven games and the Buckeyes picking up only one loss over their last 10.
Ohio State took the lead in only the ninth minute of the game when a low cross from senior midfielder Eleanor Gabriel found sophomore forward Marissa Birzon behind the Wisconsin back line. With a move taking her past the flying Jordyn Bloomer, Birzon found herself with an easy finish on an open net to put the Buckeyes in front.
Wisconsin found an answer in less than 10 minutes, however, as junior defender Payton Wesley hit a precise long ball to senior midfielder Victoria Pickett near the top of the box. Pickett followed this great pass with one of her own, cleverly deploying a one-touch tap to float the ball into the box to junior forward Dani Rhodes.
The ball took a couple bounces in the box until Rhodes finished strongly with the right foot near the penalty spot for her fourth goal of the season to make it 1-1. Pickett would also earn her third assist of the season on the play.
Unfortunately for UW, the Buckeyes would score the game-deciding goal after another 10-minute window of play. Senior midfielder Sarah Roberts would find the space on a run into the right side of the box to deliver a low cross into senior forward Eleanor Gabriel. Gabriel, tightly covered by junior defender Camryn Biegalski, created enough of a disturbance for the ball to take an awkward deflection off of Biegalski and give the Buckeyes the lead.
Although the Badgers lost, they looked to be the stronger team for a majority of the game, outshooting the Buckeyes 13-6 and holding an 8-2 corner advantage. Rhodes also nearly had another goal after her shot was saved off the line by sophomore defender Izzy Rodriguez. With a draw, UW would have concluded the season with a draw and guaranteed top three finish in the Big Ten standings.
With another season in the books, Wisconsin looks strong heading into the Big Ten Tournament next week despite the unfortunate result in Columbus.
Although they are likely to also earn a berth into the NCAA tournament, UW will also be looking to win their first Big Ten Tournament since 2014, and their strong run toward the end of the season gives them a good chance.