MADISON, Wis. – After back-to-back home victories, the Wisconsin women's soccer team hit the road for the first time this season with some confidence. In its first true road game of the season that confidence showed as the Badgers upset the No. 3-ranked Virginia Cavaliers 1-0 Thursday night.
Entering Thursday's game in Charlottesville, the Cavaliers were 3-0 and coming off a win over No. 2 West Virginia in double overtime. Thanks to Badgers sophomore forward Dani Rhodes and the supporting cast, the Cavaliers are undefeated no more.
The Badgers' win was the school's highest-ranked victory in program history and the sixth top 10 win for the program. Wisconsin improved to 4-1 on the season.
It's a great day to be a Badger!— Wisconsin Soccer (@BadgerWSoccer) September 1, 2017
Game-winning goal by DANI RHODES! pic.twitter.com/CbWNFUdZ42
After 68 minutes of scoreless soccer, Rhodes took a solo ball down the left side of the field, juked out one defender, side stepped the second and put the burners on in the box before sneaking a hard grounder past freshman keeper Laurel Ivory.
The Badgers and Cavaliers both had four shots and two fouls in the first 45 minutes. Wisconsin out-cornered Virginia four to one.
Virginia became the aggressor in the second half, out-shooting Wisconsin six to three. Senior keeper Caitlyn Clem anchored the defense, however, saving three of Virginia's 10 shots.
Freshman forward Cameron Murtha had two shots in the match. Rebecca Harrison and Lauren Riceeach added one for the Badgers.
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Straight from the pitch:
Head coach Paula Wilkins
"It feels great. The biggest thing for me is that we talked about the Stanford game and the effort that we needed to come and do that. This young group just really showed that they could learn from it and they did. I have great respect for Virginia and what they've done and to win on their home field is very hard to do. I'm proud of these guys for the effort they put in here and for their fight."
"I looked at the clock actually with 20 minutes to go in the first half and they hadn't gotten their first shot. We had a game plan coming in for them and the team really bought into it. We only had about one day to prepare and practice so we had to do a lot of moving around pretty fast after Northern Illinois but the team bought into it and went for it. I am so proud of them and I told them they set the standard."
"Dani's (Rhodes) composure to finish that ball in that moment is what you need. For this team, we have a lot of players that can do that but she got the moment and capitalized on the moment. I am very proud of her. She gave me confidence. You have so many so many young players starting that these games really teach them something and these players are learning more and more every single day."
Up next: Wisconsin will stay in Virginia to face off against William & Mary on Sept. 3 at noon.