After blazing through the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament with victories over the AAC Champion Memphis Tigers and the CAA Champions Hofstra Pride, the No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers women’s soccer team (6-2-3 Big Ten, 14-4-4) fell 1-0 to the No. 1 Stanford Cardinal (10-0-1 Pac-12, 20-0-2) in the Sweet Sixteen.
In only the second Sweet Sixteen appearance in program history, the Badgers faced the 2017 NCAA champions Stanford in Palo Alto. Undefeated in 44 consecutive games, Stanford has been the dominant force in women’s soccer.
Despite the daunting task of taking on Stanford on their home turf, the Badgers played tight defensive throughout the game, conceding defeat of a final score of 1-0. The lone goal of the game came at the 37th minute off of an searching long ball from junior midfielder Jaye Boissiere that found the head of senior midfielder Jordan Dibiasi in the box.
Junior goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer got her hands on the ball, but the force from the header was just enough for the ball to squeeze through and find the net. It looked like a tough read for Bloomer as the ball came from so far outside the box, and Dibiasi managed to get over junior defenders Payton Wesley and Camryn Biegalski to score.
The Badgers had few opportunities to score themselves in the game, something of an expectation against Stanford, as looks from senior midfielder Victoria Pickett and junior forward Dani Rhodes went just high and just wide respectively.
Rhodes, coming off of her four-goal performance against Hofstra was locked down for a majority of the game. In the final seconds, the ball found her in the box, but her shot went wide left as the clock ticked to zero.
Despite the loss, the Badgers have a lot to build on for next season, with their second deepest run in program history only being stopped by the number one team in the country., While there will be new faces in the midfield as senior midfielders Alexis Tye and first team All-Big Ten selection Victoria Pickett will graduate, the Badgers will return most of their starters for next season where they’ll hope they can learn from this NCAA Tournament experience.