With a 3-0 win over the Drake Bulldogs in Des Moines on Thursday night, the Wisconsin Badgers women’s soccer team improved its win streak to five games and will now enter Big Ten Conference play with a 6-1 overall record.
The Badgers are now ranked 16th in the NCAA, and second in the Big Ten behind Penn State, who is ranked 5th overall. This Badgers victory was fueled in large part by their underclassmen.
Preseason All-Big Ten sophomore forward Dani Rhodes continued her dominance this season with yet another goal, pushing her to a grand total of four goals. Sophomore defender Camryn Biegalski managed to score a goal as well, which was her first of the season. Two, freshmen Lauren Rice and Maia Cella, contributed with an assist each as well.
The youth on this team continues to be a big factor and one of the biggest reasons the team has been playing so well thus far. Juniors Emily Borgman and Victoria Pickett also contributed with a goal and an assist.
On the defensive side, the Badgers pitched yet another shutout thanks to the combined goaltending efforts of senior Caitlyn Clem and Jordyn Bloomer, who took over for Clem in the 54th minute of the game.
The Badger defense only allowed 3 shots on goal the entire game. They have now let up only a single goal in their last five games.
Any team capable of that kind of defensive dominance should be able to compete with nearly any team in the country. Clearly, the Badgers have made the necessary adjustments on defense after giving up five goals to number two overall Stanford. Coach Paula Wilkins has shown resiliency and a strong ability to bounce back after a tough loss. This is looking to be a very promising season for Wilkins’s girls.
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Following this victory over Drake, the Badgers now have nine days off in preparation for their Big Ten opener at home in Madison against the unranked Minnesota Gophers. The Gophers are now 3-1-2 on the season after a win in double overtime against Providence on Sunday.
These Badgers have had plenty of preparation for Big Ten play with games against top five teams Stanford and Virginia, so they should be able to maintain this level of success against Minnesota and beyond.