For the third consecutive season, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s soccer team (6-2-3 Big Ten, 13-3-4 overall) advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they’ll face the Hofstra Pride (6-2-1 Colonial, 16-5-1 overall) in Palo Alto on Friday.
After a heartbreaking home loss in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament, the Badgers bounced back with a commanding win last Friday. With both offense and defense turning in impressive performances, UW attacked early and often while also playing shutdown defense.
Scoring was spread between sophomore forward Cammie Murtha, junior forward Dani Rhodes and sophomore midfielder Maia Cella over 14 shots and seven shots on goal. Meanwhile, Jordyn Bloomer went a perfect six for six on saves, collecting her first NCAA Tournament shutout in her first tournament game.
Hofstra looks to be in formidable form after taking down a solid Boston College squad (6-3-1 ACC, 14-5-1 overall) on the road, adding to its now seven-game win streak.
BC was 11-1 and home before the game, and it was also the No. 4 seed in its quarter of the bracket. Goal and point leader for Hofstra, sophomore forward Sabrina Bryan, put away two goals in the 4-1 first round victory, placing her season tally at 13. Sophomore midfielder Lucy Porter also put away another goal, placing her goal total at 11 for the season.
This duo comprises a majority of the scoring threat of Hofstra, with third leading scorer senior forward Jenn Buoncore sitting far behind at three goals on the season, but she still adds to the offense with an outstanding and team-leading 14 assists.
The Badgers remain ready for this next challenge after their opening round victory, and perhaps the involvement of lead scorer sophomore forward Lauren Rice could give way to another confident victory. While the team is used to tournament play, the differences in performance between the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament were paramount. The Badgers entered the NCAA Tournament both calm and collected, and victory was rarely, if ever, in doubt over the course of the 90 minutes.
With a week to have prepared for Hofstra, the Badgers have a great opportunity to advance to the Round of 16 on Sunday.