The No. 17 University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team (7–1–1, 1–0–1 Big Ten) tied Northwestern(6–1–2, 0–1–1 Big Ten) 1–1 Friday night and took down Illinois (6–3–0, 1–1–0 Big Ten) in a 1–0 double-overtime thriller Sunday.
Up until this weekend, forward Dani Rhodes had yet to score a goal despite an impressive 6-1 Badger record. But, against Illinois, something clicked for the junior who finally found the back of the net. Her first goal of the year came after four shot attempts — all of them on goal.
Rhodes’ second-period goal answered a Northwestern score in the 33rd minute by midfielder Michele Chernesky, the first of her season. Both team’s defenses held strong through two overtime periods to end the game in a no-decision.
After the game, Head Coach Paula Wilkins praised the team’s tenacity in her conversation with UW Athletics.
“I told the team that we have to bring tonight’s effort all the time,” Wilkins said. “This was probably their best game they’ve played all season and that standard is what we’re going to expect every game.”
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Wisconsin’s next match versus Illinois was actually the first half of a doubleheader for the ‘Pac the Mac’ promotion Sunday. Though it delayed the men’s soccer match by a few minutes, it’s hard to imagine they didn’t enjoy the show the Badger women put on.
Rhodes stole the show again against the Fighting Illini, nailing a shot in the 103rd minute off a Jordan McNeese assist to seal the game for the Badgers. Her performance through the two matches earned Rhodes Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors and it seems Wisconsin’s 2017 scoring leader has regained her form.
Up until the game-winner, the Badgers dominated Illinois on shot attempts 16 to four — nine different Badgers got looks at goal. Rhodes and Cameron Murtha led the team with three shots each.
Solid defense allowed goalie Jordyn Bloomer to sit comfortably in the box as Illinois only got off two shots on goal the entire game. That being said, Bloomer has recorded three shutouts since taking over as starter this year and has allowed more than one goal in a contest only once versus No. 7 Florida State.
Looking forward, the Badgers will continue their Big Ten schedule on the road against Michigan this Thursday and Michigan State Sunday.