MILWAUKEE, Wis. – Victory is sweet when accomplished in the clutch. It is even more compelling when it is done in thrilling fashion for the second-consecutive time.
The No. 13 University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team overcame a second-half deficit to force overtime for the second-consecutive match and outlasted Milwaukee for a 2-1 win at Engelmann Stadium on Wednesday.
After tallying the equalizer in the 77th minute on a goal from sophomore Kodee Williams, the Badgers entered extra time and immediately began attacking. The aggressiveness resulted in a corner kick in the 95th minute, with Joana Bielefeld heading in Kinley McNicoll’s corner for the game-winning score, ending any chance of an upset and sealing the Badgers’ first 6-1-0 start since 2004.
“I felt like we had the momentum the entire game, so it was a goal that was definitely in our favor,” Bielefeld said. “Milwaukee is a great environment to play in and they are a great team but we were the better team tonight and I’m just glad we came out with the win.”
• Badgers move to 6-1-0 for first time since 2004.
• Wisconsin outshot Milwaukee 20-10, including a 12-5 advantage in the second half.
The Badgers outshot the Panthers, 20-10, including a margin of 12-5 in the second half alone. Lauren Gunderson recorded four saves for the Badgers while giving up just a single goal, improving her record to 6-1-0.
It took nearly 80 minutes of action, but the Badgers got on the board after failing to capitalize on numerous scoring opportunities. Following a deflection into the Badgers’ offensive zone, senior Paige Adams found a streaking Williams on a cross for the equalizer in the 77th minute.
“Toward the end, we switched to a 4-3-3 because we wanted to get some extra pressure on Milwaukee and having Paige, Kodee and Cara [Walls] up front is a really dangerous group and I think they all had something to do with that goal,” head coach Paula Wilkins said. “I think Kodee really complements Cara and Paige really well, so when we bring her in the game, we don’t lose any intensity or have any drop off in performance. It’s a really great thing for a coach to have tactically.”
The Badgers conceded the match’s first goal on a corner kick opportunity from the far post as Milwaukee’s Sammy Vovos collected the rebound in the box and volleyed it in net during the 57th minute.
The first half saw a very balanced attack from both squads, with the Badgers heading into the intermission leading in shots, corners and saves by the narrowest of margins.
“I thought we had good possessions for parts of the game, especially in the midfield,” Wilkins said. “One thing we really did well is, by keeping possession, we wore Milwaukee down. They were extremely organized -- they blocked a lot of our passing lanes and from what we saw earlier they were much more physical and dangerous. Their players up top really gave us problems, especially in the transition.”
The Badgers open their Big Ten slate on the road as Wilkins returns to Penn State to take on the Nittany Lions on Sunday. Kickoff is slated for noon, with UW’s conference opener to be aired live on BTN.
“It was great coming home and playing in front of family and friends,” Bielefeld said. “This gives us a lot of confidence going into the Big Ten season.”