The University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team finished their regular season finale with an impressive win over No. 23 Rutgers University Wednesday night at home.
Going 3-0-3 in their last six games, Wisconsin looked to extend that unbeaten streak to seven by taking advantage of the sluggish Rutgers offense. Behind two unanswered goals from senior midfielder Rose Lavelle, the Badgers completed their mission and extended the undefeated streak to seven games with a 2-1 victory.
Women’s soccer: Badgers record seventh tie of the year with 0-0 draw at IllinoisThe University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team collected their seventh tie of the season on Saturday in their double overtime Read…
Wisconsin (8-4-7, 5-2-4 Big Ten) controlled the ball for the majority of the first half, rattling off five shots to Rutgers’ one in the first 20 minutes. In the same amount of time, the Badgers gathered five corner kicks while Rutgers (9-3-6, 4-2-5 Big Ten) could not muster a single corner.
Despite being silenced for the entire first half, Rutgers would be the ones to break the scoreless tie on a 40th minute goal by Rutgers senior forward Erica Murphy assisted by the team’s leading scorer, senior attacker Madison Tiernan. Murphy capitalized on the pass that squeaked past a Wisconsin defender and beat UW goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem on a one-on-one before finally netting the strike. The goal was Murphy’s third of the season.
On a rainy and cold afternoon, both offenses struggled to create many scoring chances. Despite outshooting Rutgers 7-to-2, the Scarlett Knights would go into halftime with a 1-0 lead. By the end of the first half, the Badgers also had more corner kicks with seven while Rutgers did not collect a single corner.
The pesky Wisconsin offense finally got their reward for consistently controlling the ball when freshman midfielder Grace Bahr sent a pass from far outside the box directly to an open Lavelle who then fired a missile past Rutgers goalie Alana Jiminez to tie score at one.
“We thought we were creating some stuff in the first half, but we weren’t executing well enough,” head coach Paula Wilkins said. “In the second half, we pushed Rose a little bit harder, and she did what really good players do. She took over the game.”
With under nine minutes left in the game, Wisconsin surged downfield and took the lead on a rocket from outside the defender’s box by Lavelle who recorded her second goal of the game to give the Badgers a 2-1 lead. Lavelle’s two scores made her the team’s leading scorer on the season with four.
The game-winning goal served as a suiting farewell for Lavelle as she completed her final regular season game at home.
“It means a lot,” Lavelle said. “To win it on my last home game is really special. We’ve been fighting these last six games, and I think that’s really indicative of the final stretch of our season.”
Wisconsin outshot Rutgers 16-7 and bested the Scarlet Knights in shots on goal 6-3. UW junior forward Sydney McGinnis led the team in shots with five, followed by Rose Lavelle who had four shots with three of them on goal. Lavelle also tallied four points, the most of a Badger in a single game this season.
With the win, the Badgers secured the No. 5 seed in the Big Ten Tournament, and will face No. 4 seed Michigan at 8 p.m. on Oct. 30. Wilkins discussed the team mindset going into the conference tournament.
“It’s a whole new season,” Wilkins said. “You clear the slate on everything. We’re unbeaten in the last seven games, and I like them going in this direction.”