MADISON, Wis. – When the Wisconsin women’s soccer team faces border rival Minnesota, the matchup always has a special feeling. Consider Friday night’s 1-0 shutout of No. 11 Minnesota an unforgettable one, as the Badgers earned their third straight win at the McClimon Complex and claimed the program’s first win over a top-11 opponent since 1998.
In front of a record crowd of 1,450 fans, the Badgers (6-4-3, 3-1-1 Big Ten) held firm in an all-out defensive battle between the Border Battle rivals. Kinley McNicoll scored her second goal of the season on a penalty kick in the first half, which stood as the game-winner thanks to UW’s stingy defensive display.
Wisconsin limited Minnesota (9-2-2, 4-1-0), a team that came in having scored 25 goals on the year, to just four shots in the game.
“The one thing that we talked about is that we wanted to make sure we got pressure on them right away,” Wilkins said. “In other games we’ve given them some time and space and we decided that we wanted to really eliminate that.”
The Badgers had their most dangerous offensive attack 11 minutes before halftime, when junior midfielder Rose Lavelle hit freshman midfielder Victoria Pickett with a pass that created a shot, but it hit the crossbar. Lavelle followed up with a shot of her own on the rebound, but couldn’t find the back of the net.
The spark provided momentum for Wisconsin, however, as Pickett battled her way to the net again just minutes later and earned a penalty kick after she was taken down on a foul in the box. Senior midfielder McNicoll stepped up to take the penalty kick and converted by beating Gophers’ keeper Tarah Hobbs right corner to give UW a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute.
The Badgers carried their first half momentum into the second frame, consistently pressuring the Gophers through the first 15 minutes of play. Highlighting the offensive pressure was a shot from Lavelle that hit crossbar, then was followed up on by junior midfielder Micaela Powers, who’s shot Hobbs barely got a hand on for the save.
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Despite Minnesota pressing late for a game-tying goal and knocking at the door down the stretch, the Badgers were able to hold defensively and preserve their shutout. It marked the fourth consecutive shutout for UW and the fifth career clean sheet for UW goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem.
The big win came in front of a big crowd, as Friday’s attendance of 1,450 fans ranked as the highest attended women’s soccer game at the McClimon Complex since at least 2001.
“The crowd was fantastic,” Wilkins said. “The energy and the fans behind the goals just raised the level up.”