UW gains ground in Big Ten after 2-0 weekend

first_imgThe Wisconsin women’s soccer team wanted to make a statement Sunday against Michigan State. They did just that, shutting down the second-place team in the Big Ten and the nation’s leading scorer en route to a 2-0 victory.“We’re building our team from the start of the season to now,” freshman forward Laurie Nosbusch said. “This was a really big win for us. It was a really exciting game to play in. We knew that they were going to be really tough, so to get this win, it means a lot to this team and what we’ve accomplished over the past couple weeks.”UW controlled the game early, outshooting MSU 8-1 in the first half and adding a goal from freshman Erin Jacobsen in the 17th minute to take a 1-0 lead into halftime.The Badgers’ defense shut down the Spartans, limiting their opportunities and keeping them from putting a shot-on-goal in the first half of play.“It was just a commitment that the backs — the four of us — made, that we’re going to be this brick wall here,” sophomore defender Birdie Leibham said. “It feels great, especially when the hype of the whole team is these two forwards. Shutting them down made a statement to the other teams in the Big Ten, I think.”Wisconsin (9-6-1, 3-4-0 in the Big Ten) didn’t let up in the second half, as Nosbusch added a goal just over five minutes in on an assist from Jacobsen.Michigan State (13-4-0, 5-3-0 in the Big Ten) was able to get some momentum in the second half, outshooting Wisconsin 7-4 and putting three shots-on-goal. The Badgers’ defense held strong, however, keeping the Spartans off the scoreboard for the fourth time this season.“I thought the biggest thing was every time those two (freshman Laura Heyboer and junior Lauren Hill) touched the ball, we had somebody who was pressing them, and we were careful to make sure that they were covering each other,” head coach Paula Wilkins said.Wilkins also noted that the collective play of the defense made the difference.“It was a total group effort with the group of four back there keeping track of people and being competitive to win the first balls,” Wilkins said. “It’s a huge credit to them because obviously with Heyboer and Hill being the two leading scorers in the Big Ten, to be able to shut them down is a wonderful thing.”Senior goalkeeper Jamie Klages made three saves in the game to earn her fifth shutout of the season and her second in Big Ten play. Earlier in the week, Klages outlined her team’s approach to facing Heyboer and Hill.“We try and worry more about what we can bring to the table and what we’re going to do as a defense rather than changing ourselves for [them],” Klages said.Wisconsin also defeated Michigan (4-6-4, 1-6-2) in Friday’s matchup, scoring three goals in a 10-minute span to come away with a 3-1 victory.Senior Taylor Walsh got things started for Wisconsin in the 12th minute with a goal from 35 yards out into the upper left corner of the goal. Junior Krista Liskevych followed with a goal just under five minutes later, less than a minute after entering the game.The Badgers extended their lead to 3-0 in the 21st minute as Nosbusch found the back of the net with an assist from Liskevych.“I can’t even remember a time when we’ve had that,” Liskevych said of the goals. “It was a huge confidence boost.”Wisconsin maintained its three-goal lead for nearly 70 minutes before giving up a goal to senior Katie Miller on an assist from Danielle Underwood. The Wolverines’ goal was the only shot they managed to put on goal in the second half.“It was amazing,” Klages said of the game. “When we get a goal early, we always respond really well to that, and Taylor’s goal was great. Just to be able to come out and not taper off at all — I think we played really well that first half — was great.”Klages also noted that she believes the team’s success on the weekend stemmed from its ability to carry the momentum built from defeating Indiana 1-0 a week ago.Following two Wisconsin wins, an Illinois loss and two Iowa losses on the weekend, the Badgers moved up two spots in the Big Ten standings into a tie with Illinois for sixth place.“Other teams in the Big Ten better watch out for us because we’re staying focused and working really hard,” Leibham said. “We’re making a statement for our program.”last_img read more