Women’s soccer: Badgers face tough challenge ahead with three-game road stretch

Wisconsin plays off campus, nearing end of the season

· Oct 13, 2016 Tweet

Jason Chan/The Badger Herald

Fresh off a senior day victory, the University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team heads to the Wolverine State to face University of Michigan and Michigan State University as part of a three-game road trip.

The Badgers (6-4-5, 3-2-2 Big Ten) disposed of the University of Iowa Hawkeyes last weekend 1-0, continuing their hot streak in which they have won three of their last five games.

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The Michigan Wolverines (9-3-1, 5-2-0 Big Ten) are Wisconsin’s first challenge of the upcoming road trip, as the Badgers enter the last four games of the regular season. UW currently sits in seventh place in the Big Ten standings with the Wolverines looking up from fourth.

Wisconsin was able to take advantage of a weak opponent in Iowa, but struggled offensively after scoring their only goal late in 62nd minute. The Badgers’ scoring attack seemed to be on the rise after their recent three-game stint against Indiana University, Purdue University and University of Minnesota. During this stretch, Wisconsin scored six goals and won two of three matches, including a victory over a ranked Minnesota team. Since then, the Badgers have only scored one goal in each of their last two games and gone 1-0-1 overall in that span.

The Badgers have relied heavily on their defense to keep them in games this season, and Thursday’s game against an offense-propelled Michigan team will be no different. The Wolverines own a plus-12 goal differential, outscoring their opponents 26-14. Six of those goals belong to sophomore forward, Reilly Martin, who leads the team in the category.

Michigan’s defense is led by redshirt sophomore goalkeeper, Sarah Jackson, who averages less than one goal allowed per game. And to get the best of this Wolverines’ defensive core, Wisconsin will need to continue its streak of firing an abundance of shots, something the Badgers have managed to do an average of 15.4 times per game. The Badgers have also outshot their opponents 231-129 thus far this season.

And if Michigan’s high-powered offense and lockdown defense weren’t enough, the Wolverines have yet to lose a game in Ann Arbor this season.

Wisconsin might have an easier task ahead of them in East Lansing when the Badgers face the Michigan State Spartans (5-8-1, 2-5-0 Big Ten). MSU has dropped four of its last five games, and the Spartans have been outscored 10-5 in that stretch.

Michigan State averages less than one goal per game and can be streaky on defense. The Spartan defense surrenders nearly one and a half goals per game, but has also recorded five shutouts. Look for the Badgers to capitalize on their tendency to produce a barrage of shots toward the net and further add to their goal differential.

The game against the Wolverines kicks off Thursday, Oct. 13 at 6 p.m. with live coverage airing on BTN PLUS, and the match against the Spartans starts at noon Sunday, Oct. 16.


This article was published Oct 13, 2016 at 12:04 am and last updated Oct 13, 2016 at 12:04 am


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