The University of Wisconsin will host Toledo in Madison this Friday, marking the first game of NCAA tournament play for both teams.
Wisconsin (13-5-2, 6-3-2 Big Ten) will look to rebound from a difficult loss to Northwestern as they attempt to make a November run in the NCAA tournament. While the Badgers racked up three straight shutout victories toward the end of the season, Northwestern stopped their streak in the second round of the Big Ten tournament with a 2-1 victory.
On the other hand, the Toledo Rockets (12-7-3, 6-3-2 Mid-American) are coming off a five-game win streak after defeating Bowling Green State in the MAC tournament. Winning both the finals and semi-finals in overtime, Toledo will be ready for another potentially close matchup against the Badgers.
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On the scoring end, Wisconsin has gotten more players involved toward the end of the season. One example of this is freshman forward/midfielder Cameron Murtha. Murtha’s role has expanded throughout the year, hitting two goals in her final two regular season contests to give her the second most goals on the team with five.
Forward Dani Rhodes, however, still dominates the scoring for the Badgers. The striker led the team with eleven goals on the year while still maintaining the highest shot percentage out of qualifying players at .164.
This offensive production will be matched by standout forward Hannah Scafaria. Scafaria’s eight goals on the year lead the Rockets while also maintaining an impressive .258 shot percentage on her attempts. The Badgers defense and goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem will be responsible for limiting Scafaria’s production.
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While Clem faced struggles in the middle of the season as Wisconsin participated in a plethora of overtime contests, she was able to right the ship by its end. Before the loss to Northwestern, Clem had secured three straight shutouts to give her an outstanding ten total on the year.
Opposite Clem will be Toledo goalkeeper Madison Perrin. Perrin has fared well of late, allowing no more than one goal in her previous seven contests, the last two going to overtime and double overtime.
Though Wisconsin has performed well of late, many of the same questions they have had throughout the season still remain. Will Dani Rhodes’ leg be enough to support Clem at goal or will other Badgers have to step up to secure the win?
Tune in for live action on BTN Plus as kickoff begins at 7 p.m. from the McClimon complex.