The 2016 fall semester produced many memorable moments that Badger fans want to relive. It was tough to narrow it down to five, but here are The Badger Herald’s top five moments from University of Wisconsin sports this semester.
Volleyball moment of the semester: Comeback win at Texas
Despite a disappointing finish to the season, the volleyball team made the Elite Eight for the third time in four years. And with the No. 1 RPI schedule in the country, produced one of the most exciting seasons in program history.
While the No. 3 Badgers were unable to capture their first National Championship in school history, the team’s unbelievable three set comeback to take down then-No. 2 Texas University in Austin was a moment that has yet to be surpassed in college volleyball this season. The thrilling match produced several school records as senior setter Lauren Carilini set the record for most career double-doubles with 62 and senior middle blocker Haleigh Nelson became the seventh Badger to record 500 career blocks.
The win catapulted Wisconsin into the national title contention conversation for the rest of the year and was the marquee win the squad held high going into the postseason. Despite the end result of the September battle in Texas, the Longhorns punched their ticket to the Final Four Saturday while the Badgers booked their trip back to Madison for the year.
The team didn’t finish where they might have wanted to, but its win over UT remains one of the highlights of the UW athletic semester and deserves a spot on this list.
Football moment of the semester: Dixon interception to beat LSU
No one, save for Aaron Rodgers, expected unranked Wisconsin to take down then-No. 5 Louisiana State University, a preseason national title contender. The Tigers also had Leonard Fournette, a strong favorite to win the Heisman Trophy before the season began.
None of that mattered Sept. 3 at Lambeau Field. The Badgers’ defense held the LSU offense to 14 points, and D’Cota Dixon’s interception of LSU quarterback Brandon Harris with 57 seconds left, after Vince Biegel pressured Harris, clinched the UW upset.
The play gained traction nationally after LSU guard Josh Boutte leveled Dixon after the play ended. Boutte was suspended for one game, but not before the clip of him sending Dixon airborne generated millions of loops on Vine (RIP).
Men’s hockey moment of semester: Topping No. 6 Boston College at home
The men’s hockey team has had a dismal two years prior to the 2016-17 campaign, winning just 12 total games and landing at the bottom of the Big Ten conference each season.
This season, however, was a different story for Wisconsin with a new era emerging under brand new coaching staff. The Badgers have gotten off to their best start in years and have defeated some high-powered teams, including a dominant 3-1 performance over the No. 6 Boston College Eagles midway through October.
The victory was not only the first over the Eagles since 2006, but gave a heartbeat to a rising Badger team poised to be serious contenders in the Big Ten and the nation. Not only was the win the first marquee win under new coach Tony Granato, but it signaled to the rest of the college hockey world that Wisconsin was back.
Especially with an incredibly young lineup, the triumph over the Golden Eagles was put on this list as it might have very well foreshadowed a bright future for the Badgers.
Men’s soccer moment of semester: Beating Indiana in PK’s
The men’s soccer team came into the season with low expectations from their conference counterparts, who expected the Badgers to simply try and improve on a 5-11-3 overall record in 2015.
Instead, the Badgers proved they were looking for much more than improvement, and went on to finish this season 11-4-4 and an undefeated 9-0-1 record at home, culminating in a No. 3 seed for the conference tournament.
The highlight of the season came in the Big Ten tournament, when they faced No. 2 seed Indiana, who was also ranked No. 7 nationally.
After giving up a late goal in the 79th minute that tied the game 1-1, the two teams played two scoreless overtimes to send the game into a penalty shootout.
Wisconsin outshot their opponents 4-3 in the penalty kicks, proving to the nation they were capable of playing against any team in the country. They will be a force to be reckoned with over the upcoming seasons.
Football moment of semester: Defensive stand to beat Nebraska in OT
Another upset win, another Dixon play to seal the Wisconsin win.
On third down, with No. 11 Wisconsin leading No. 7 Nebraska 23-17 after a Dare Ogunbowale and Andrew Endicott’s missed extra point on the first possession of overtime, Dixon nearly intercepted Husker quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr.’s pass over the middle. He could not corral it, giving Nebraska one more shot.
Armstrong heaved it deep to the right corner of the end zone, right in front of the student section, on 4th-and-10. This time, Dixon would be sure to end the game. He flew from the middle of the field to break up the pass, and the Badger bench spilled out onto the field in celebration.