The Wisconsin women’s soccer team (13-4-1, 5-4-1) takes the short trip down I-94 this evening to face Marquette (10-6-1, 6-2-1). Tonight’s match marks the third and final match against in-state opponents for the Badgers.
“Our focus is we’re 2-0 [in the state],” head coach Dean Duerst said. “We want to be 3-0 for the state and win the crown.”
The Badgers have already defeated the Panthers of UW-Milwaukee and the Phoenix of UW-Green Bay. However, Marquette is Wisconsin’s biggest rival of the three, making tonight’s match against the Golden Eagles a marquee matchup.
“Marquette tends to be our biggest rival out of the three [state teams],” junior Katy Lindenmuth said. “It will be a great way for us to finish heading into the Big Ten Tournament. It gives us momentum going into the Big Ten Tournament. We really look forward to [playing Marquette]. They are always fun to play.”
Marquette is currently in the midst of a four-game winning streak, and in the process they have shut out their last three opponents. The Badgers are definitely not looking past the Golden Eagles.
“I have to keep challenging [the team], and this is a great challenge — the Marquette game — our ability to close out the state,” Duerst said.
The Badgers are confident that if they play their game they will have a chance to come out on top.
“One of the things is they are giving goals up,” Duerst said. “Every game going into it we just have to continue to play the speed at which we play and the combinations with which we use. You have to be able to do it with combination play because that is how you pull apart defenses. They are a strong team, a strong defensive team. They are going to battle. [We need to] play to our strengths.”
Besides being a rivalry game to potentially close out the state, this game also boasts the potential distraction of a weekday night game.
“[Winning the state] is one of the things on our list,” Duerst said. “Now for these guys I think they have the understanding and the importance of where we are sitting with that. It is a mid-week, 7 p.m. game. I think we will be real focused as a team going down there.”
The Golden Eagles will also be riding high as they bid farewell to five seniors, goaltender Katie Bissen, midfielder Katie Michuda, defenseman Jessica Ratcliffe, midfielder Claire Weber and midfielder Ester Bedard.
If the Badgers can overcome all of these obstacles, they will travel back home to McClimon Soccer Complex and enter Saturday’s senior day match with a six-game winning streak.