Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Wilkins praises Carlson, team for NCAA wins

It’s been 16 years, but the Wisconsin women’s soccer team is back in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.

The Badgers topped No. 3 seed Central Florida 1-0 Sunday to advance, after dropping Arizona State in a shootout Friday night. UW head coach Paula Wilkins was very pleased with her team earning its first NCAA Tournament wins since defeating Dayton 2-1 in 2004.

“I’m really excited for the players after this weekend,” Wilkins said. “Obviously, we thought we were a little bit on the bubble getting in the NCAAs, and then to come away with two home victories in pretty dramatic fashion, very excited for the players and I think it’s a major credit to them in terms of where we started this season.”

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The Badgers are just one of four remaining unseeded teams in the tournament. The top four teams in each region are seeded one through four, and UW heads to Massachusetts to face No. 2 seed Boston College Friday.

“We’re really excited about where we are, and we think every experience is going to be a good learning experience for them,” Wilkins said. “We’re excited to go to Boston. Pretty familiar, being from the East Coast, with BC. [Boston College is a] very good team that actually won the ACC this year, which is a pretty difficult task, having North Carolina in there every year.”

Wisconsin is the only remaining Big Ten team in the field. Penn State was the only other team to win its opening game, beating Colgate 5-0 before falling to Virginia 6-2.

The Badgers finished the season 9-5-5 and 5-1-4 in the Big Ten to finish third in the standings. It was UW’s best conference finish since 2000, and this year marks the first time since 2005 the Badgers made the NCAA Tournament.

Carlson steps up

Despite appearing in just 13 of UW’s 19 regular season games and making no starts, junior Roxanne Carlson was arguably the Badgers’ most important player this weekend. Carlson scored the winning goal in UW’s victory over UCF and also had the deciding penalty kick in Friday’s shootout win.

Wilkins praised Carlson, as well as fellow reserve Krista Liskevych for contributing in the few minutes they played. Both players came in as substitutes Friday night and converted on their penalty kicks in the shootout.

“That means that in the atmosphere that, I know Roxanne didn’t have some minutes earlier in the season … but she’s still competing and training as hard as she can because she knows her opportunity is going to come around,” Wilkins said. “And to be honest, it’s one of the biggest opportunities that she had, and she did a great job, and that has to do with her focus and training and what she’s been doing there even when she wasn’t getting the minutes on the field.”

Carlson played just 246 regular season minutes, good for 17th on the team. Even after her heroics Friday, she came on as a substitute against UCF and played just 20 minutes. However, those minutes were enough for Carlson to put in her first career goal as a Badger, off of a feed from Laurie Nosbusch.

“You know, you talk about players and you talk about being selfless, and I think that’s a great example of building a program here, those players buying into the big picture of what they’re being a part of, and [Carlson] should be commended for that,” Wilkins said.

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