Badgers prepare for Border Battle, OSU

first_imgThe University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team looks to get back to its winning ways against Big Ten rival Minnesota Thursday.After losing to No. 22 Michigan at the McClimon Complex Sunday, Wisconsin (7-3, 1-2) travels west to take on Minnesota (6-5, 1-2), searching for its second Big Ten victory.After being shut out by the Wolverines in a 3-0 loss over the weekend and only managing four shots on goal, the Badgers’ offensive squad is looking for improvement against the Golden Gophers.Freshman midfielder McKenna Meuer, who has three goals on the season, said she is hoping a simpler mindset will help the offensive attack this Thursday.“In practice we worked on basically just getting back to the basics,” Meuer said. “[We worked on] keeping the ball, switching the field, basically the principles of attacking when you play soccer. So we’re definitely not looking to get shut out again.”The Wisconsin offense will have its hands full with a Minnesota team that boasts a stingy defense that has allowed only four goals in its last eight games.Head coach Paula Wilkins said she realizes just how good Minnesota’s defense is.“Their competitive mentality is fantastic,” Wilkins said. “They are great in the air. They’re great battling for first balls and second balls. We use the term ‘Earn the right to play.’ So, we need to win the ball first so that we can knock the ball around a little bit to spread them out. If we play into their hands and play pretty central, we’re going to struggle, so we need to get wider on them.”UW’s defense has been reeling as of late, allowing eight goals in its last five games, including two games in which the Badgers let up three goals.Team captain and senior midfielder Lindsey Johnson said she wants to see more unity in the defense.“We need to just get back to how we were playing at the beginning of the season,” Johnson said. “We need to play together as a team, get up together and defend together. That’s how we were good and didn’t allow little goals.”Minnesota’s offensive attack is led by sophomore forward Taylor Uhl, who has a Big Ten-best 11 goals on the season along with six assists.Johnson said she knows how dangerous Uhl is offensively and said her defensive squad needs to keep an eye on Uhl at all times.“We just need to keep track of her the whole game,” Johnson said. “We obviously know that she is going to be a threat, so we need to keep count of her and not let her turn and not let her get shots off. If she does, then we’ll hopefully be there. We have trust in our entire box.”Wisconsin has struggled in its rivalry with Minnesota recently, going 1-4-1 in the last five years. In their last meeting, Minnesota knocked Wisconsin out of the Big Ten tournament, defeating the Badgers 2-0.Although the Gophers have gotten the better of the Badgers lately, Wilkins said she still appreciates the rivalry that exists between the two teams.“The border battle is a wonderful thing,” Wilkins said. “It’s something that we have to take pride in. It’s something that I have learned about since I have come here as a coach, and we are definitely going to talk about that.”Sunday, Wisconsin will travel to Ohio State, where it will take on the Buckeyes (7-3, 2-1), who are tied for third in the Big Ten.Ohio State has won seven of its last eight games and has scored at least two goals five times during that stretch.Senior forward Tiffany Cameron is the biggest threat the Buckeye’s have offensively, sporting nine goals and an assist on the season.The Buckeyes lead the all-time series with the Badgers with a record of 9-8-4, including a 1-0 victory over UW last season.Meuer said the team has a rivalry with Ohio State comparable to the Minnesota rivalry and is expecting a fight.“I know from my sisters playing here that they hated Ohio State,” Meuer said. “Ohio State is a huge rival, almost right up there with Minnesota. It’s going to be a brawl. It’s going to be a really big game and it’s going to be a tough competition.”last_img

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