For the third consecutive year and 20th time in program history, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s soccer team (6-2-3 Big Ten, 12-3-4 overall) earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament.
After a heartbreaking home loss in penalties in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament to Illinois (6-5-0, 11-8-1), the Badgers are looking to bounce back on the road against the highly-ranked Memphis Tigers (7-2 AAC, 17-3).
Memphis is going to their sixth NCAA Tournament since head coach Brooks Monaghan took over 18 seasons ago. Despite losing to UCF and USF in the regular season, Memphis beat both teams in the American Athletic Conference tournament to win their first conference tournament as a member of the conference. Memphis enters the NCAA tournament on a five-game winning streak, coming into good form into their matchup against the Badgers.
The Tigers are dangerous on both ends of the field, having recorded 13 shutouts over the course of the season while averaging an impressive 2.5 goals per game. Their attack is led by sophomores forward Clarissa Larisey and Samantha Murphy who have recorded 12 and 11 goals on the season, respectively. This dynamic scoring duo is supported by senior forward Marie Levasseur, arguably the most important cog in the Memphis offense with six goals and eight assists over the course of this season.
The Badgers certainly have their work cut out for them this Friday. Despite a strong run of form heading into the Big Ten Tournament where they won seven of eight games, Wisconsin lost its final game of the regular season to Ohio State, ending any possibility of finishing first in the conference.
UW instead was the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament and ended up losing to Illinois in penalties after the game was deadlocked at 2-2 after 110 minutes. After losing their last two games, the Badgers will need to enter the NCAA tournament with a fresh mindset and a clean slate.
Wisconsin is the lone Big Ten team in their quarter of the bracket, but Rutgers, Penn State, Ohio State, Northwestern and Big Ten tournament champions Minnesota all qualified for the tournament as well.
The Badgers will be looking to make a deep run in the tournament, with their first stop in Memphis, Tennessee.
Kick off is set for 7:00 p.m. Friday night.