The No. 13 Wisconsin Badgers (4-0-0 Big Ten, 8-2-1) are on absolute fire with their best start to conference play in more than 20 years, remaining unbeaten through four games. The Badgers took on their latest opponents; the tough No. 24 ranked Michigan Wolverines (8-3-1, 3-1-1) at home this Thursday and emerged victorious in a confident 2-0 victory.
It was a chilly evening at McClimon, but there was an electric energy to the stadium as it was Rose LaVelle night, honoring the former Badger great who played from 2013-2016 for Wisconsin. LaVelle put together a fantastic career for the Badgers, earning All-American honors three times, and twice winning Big Ten midfielder of the year. Most recently LaVelle has been in the international spotlight for her incredible performance as a member of Team USA in their successful World Cup conquest in the summer, alongside earning the Bronze Ball award for her play. Although LaVelle had a game of her own, an international friendly against South Korea, her impact was still felt on the field.
Senior forward Dani Rhodes continued her fantastic start to conference play, scoring both Badgers goals and raising her goal total to four in four games. With her career total at 31, Rhodes now holds the title of active leading goal scorer in the Big Ten.
“Obviously it feels awesome, but I owe it to my teammates. None of this would be possible without them,” Rhodes said of her achievement.
The Badgers dominated the first half, their first goal coming in the 18th minute from a long, looping cross off of the foot of junior forward Lauren Rice from just outside the left side of the box. A strong header from Rhodes flew just clear of the diving goalkeeper. With a 6-2 shooting advantage, and a 4-1 corner advantage in the first half the Badgers controlled possession and the pace of the game. The Badgers were also dominant on the defensive end, limiting Michigan to 2 shots in the first half, which was a season low for the Wolverines normally potent offense. The Badgers also allowed only 2 shots in the second half, as Jordyn Bloomer had her sixth shutout performance of the season.
Rhodes’ second goal came 15 minutes into the second half when Cammie Murtha made a run with the ball behind the backline of the Wolverines on the right side of the box and slid a sneaky ground pass to the incoming Rhodes. This goal broke another streak for the Wolverines, who had not allowed more than one goal for 16 consecutive games. The Badgers are in great form and look to remain unbeaten in conference play against Purdue (2-2-1 Big Ten, 6-4-2), in West Lafayette this Sunday.