The No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers (3-1-0) continued their strong start to the season with another exciting home victory in overtime against the Butler Bulldogs (3-1-0), winning by a score of 2-1.
The Badgers started the game playing suffocating defense, using a high press to stifle Butler’s offensive build-up. Despite this pressure, senior defender Annika Schmidt put the Bulldogs ahead in the 23rd minute, powerfully heading home a corner kick, good for her second goal of the season.
Though some teams would fold under the early pressure, Wisconsin remained composed and continued to put pressure on the Butler midfield and backline.
Nearly twenty minutes later the Badgers still had not found a way past Butler goalkeeper Stephanie Rodriguez, and it looked like they might enter the second half down a goal.
But, in the 41st minute junior defender Grace Douglas picked up the ball near midfield and lofted a lovely ball into the penalty area. Junior forward Jordan McNeese met it with a head-first dive, and guided the ball into the back of the net.
That sent the Badgers into halftime with huge momentum, and they were itching for a chance to grab the lead.
Already with seven shots in the first half, the Badgers added 11 more in the second period, but none translated into a goal.
Freshman midfielder/forward Emma Jaskaniec came close in the 74th minute, rifling a shot on goal, but Butler Goalkeeper Stephanie Rodriguez made a diving save to preserve the stalemate.
With minutes to go in regulation, Lauren Rice had potentially the best individual moment of the match, controlling an incoming pass with a pristine touch that allowed her to glide past the Butler defense into a one-on-one situation with the Butler keeper. She beat the keeper Rodriguez with her shot but the ball careened off the left post and back into play.
On Thursday, against Marquette, it was Lauren Rice who scored the winner. This time, it was her fellow junior forward, Cameron Murtha’s turn to grab the golden goal.
The chance came about 5 minutes into overtime as the Bulldog defense struggled to deal with a cross from senior defender Camryn Biegalski. Jordan McNeese was able to direct a bouncing ball goalwards, which deflected off a Butler defender and into the path of Murtha, who pounced on the opportunity and opened her goal tab for the year. McNeese was awarded with an assist.
The Badgers will head to the windy city for a midweek tie against Loyola-Chicago (1-0-3) before coming back to McClimon to host Green Bay (3-0-1) next sunday.