After having their Friday evening match against Ohio State postponed due to weather, the No. 19 Wisconsin Badgers (3-0-0 Big Ten, 7-2-1 overall) were able to take the field on Sunday against the Penn State Nittany Lions (2-2-0 Big Ten, 6-5-1 overall), winning the match 1-0.
In the first few minutes, the Nittany Lions looked like more of a threat, earning a free kick in the attacking third. The shot however, deflected harmlessly off of senior goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer’s wall.
Bloomer was first called into action in the 17th minute when junior midfielder/forward Sam Coffee’s low shot forced a diving save out of her. Then in the 30th minute, Bloomer made her second and final save of the day, corralling a header from Penn State defender Ellie Jean.
While the Badgers managed to create a handful of chances in the first half, they never tested the Penn State goalkeeper, each of their three shots failing to hit the target. A notable opportunity to put one on goal came in the 19th minute but was thwarted by a sliding effort from a Penn State defender that deflected junior forward Cameron Murtha’s cutback into the thigh of senior forward Dani Rhodes.
Solid in the back and lackluster in the attack, each side finished the half scoreless. It became clear that the game was in dire need of a moment of individual quality to break the deadlock.
That moment came in the 47th minute as junior forward Lauren Rice curled in a pinpoint cross with her left foot that met the eager head of freshman midfielder/forward Emma Jaskaniec. Though the Penn State keeper got a hand to the ball, she was unable to keep it from hitting the back of the net.
In a tightly contested match, an opening goal often can open things up, resulting in more chances for each side as the losing team attempts to get back on level terms. This seemed to be the case, as within five minutes of scoring the Badgers found themselves close to doubling the lead. A ball was laid off in the box for junior forward Cameron Murtha, but her shot took the ball over the crossbar and out for a goal kick.
In the game’s last 15 minutes the Nittany Lions created their best chance of the second half when a cross was whipped in from the right wing, but junior defender Grace Douglas intervened, heading it out of danger and preserving the three points for the Badgers. As it turned out, Jaskaniec’s goal was the sole shot on target for the Badgers, and the last one that either team managed in the match.
Thanks to her 1st career goal, and another outstanding defensive performance, Jaskaniec and the Badgers continued a perfect start to Big Ten play and extended their undefeated run at McClimon Soccer Complex to 12 games straight (four this season).
The Badgers can now turn their focus to Thursday as they look to continue their amazing winning streak at home against the Michigan Wolverines (3-0-1 Big Ten, 8-2-1 overall).