With a 2-0 victory over the Green Bay Phoenix (3-3-0), the No. 16 Wisconsin Badgers (4-1-1) ended their streak of four straight overtime games, and earned their most decisive scoreline of the year.
The Badgers were dominant from kickoff, with junior midfielder/forward Lauren Rice nearly scoring in the 3rd minute off of a low cross from junior forward Cameron Murtha. However, Rice’s finish was scuffed wide to the left of the Green Bay goal. In the 30th minute, a similar opportunity arose for freshman midfielder/forward Emma Jaskaniec, but like Rice, her strike ended up wide of the net.
As the first half progressed, chances continued to come, but goals did not follow. Of the badger’s 11 shots in the first half, only two were on target.
The stalemate continued until the 53rd minute when senior forward Dani Rhodes struck home a penalty kick. Then, with 11 minutes remaining, sophomore midfielder Natalie Viggiano extended the lead to two goals.
Aside from the lack of precision in their shot taking, it was an impressive performance overall from the Badgers. Any attempt at an attack from the Phoenix was tidily dealt with by the Badgers backline, which held Green Bay to zero shots in the first half, and just two in the entire game. Both shots that were on target were saved by Badger goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer.
As usual, junior midfielder Maia Cella pulled the strings from her deep-lying role. Her work in the middle of the park allowed the Badgers to control the speed of the game and keep the phoenix on the defensive.
On the attacking side of the ball, the trio of Rhodes, Murtha and Rice consistently created problems for the Green Bay defense. If they can each maintain their runs of form, goals in coming games are practically guaranteed.
Next week, the Badgers head to Los Angeles to take on the No. 2 UCLA bruins (4-1-0). This will likely be one of the Badgers’ most difficult games of the entire season, and one where each player will have to be on top form if they hope to return to Madison with any points.
They could face an even tougher task depending on the availability of junior defender Grace Douglas. After sustaining a head injury in the 12th minute against Green Bay, she was replaced by junior defender Sammy Kleedtke. Although Kleedtke filled in well for Douglas at center back, the Badgers will want their best 11 on the field against one of the top programs in the nation.