Badgers to take on UCF in NCAA second round matchup

first_imgFollowing a memorable sendoff from the McClimon Soccer Complex this season with a 2-0 win over DePaul in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament, the fourth-seeded Wisconsin women’s soccer team (19-2-2) looks ahead to this Friday’s second round matchup against Central Florida (17-4-0) as they aim for a deep playoff run.Unlike the Badgers, who essentially cruised to their first round victory over DePaul following two early goals by senior forward Cara Walls in the first half last Saturday, the UCF nights found themselves in a 1-1 deadlock with more than 20 minutes in their match against Georgia. It took a timely effort from midfielder Ashley Spivey the team’s leading scorer, to finish off a cross in the 69th minute from forward Hannah DeBose for the 2-1 lead and eventual final score.Friday’s second round match marks the meeting of two of the nation’s premiere defenses, with the Badgers allowing just 0.30 goals per game and the Knights yielding 0.48. Wisconsin also boasts 18 shutouts out of their 23 total games this season while UCF has 18 of their own through 21 games. Both starting goalies won the goalkeeper of the year awards this season for their respective conferences, with Wisconsin’s redshirt senior Genevieve Richard earning the Big Ten’s distinction and UCF junior Connie Organ taking the honor for the American Athletic Conference.As dominant as both defenses have been all season, the two sides also bring forth formidable offensive attacks that have played an instrumental role in their team’s success so far. For Wisconsin, Walls leads the way with 14 goals in 19 games this season for a squad that averages 1.83 goals per game this season. Setting up the majority of Wall’s goals this season have been the midfield duo of junior Kinley McNicoll and sophomore Rose Lavelle, whose combined 18 assists have helped produce less than half (43 percent) of the team’s total goals scored this season (42).When the Badgers find themselves in a tight match and in desperate need of a game-winner, redshirt senior forward Kodee Williams has been the one to answer the call. Among her total of seven goals this season, five of them have been game winners for Wisconsin this season.Perhaps the biggest matchup coming into Friday’s match will be UCF’s star forward Tatiana Coleman against Wisconsin’s stout defense. With a team-leading 12 goals and 10 assists already this season, the AAC Co-Offensive Player of the Year will look to get past the experienced Badger backline, led by senior Alexandra Heller, junior Brianna Stelzer and sophomore Kylie Schwarz. So far this season, Wisconsin’s opponents have been held to just nine shots per game and a measly 34 percent shot percentage. When Coleman manages to get an on-target attempt, however, she’s been efficient this season, scoring on less than half (49.3 percent) of those shots.Rutgers and No. 2 seeded Penn St., the other two Big Ten Teams in the tournament, survived their opening round matches and will be in action this weekend. Rutgers takes on the No. 2 seed Virginia while the Nittany Lions face off against Connecticut.The remaining rounds of the tournament will be at neutral sites. Wisconsin and UCF will kick off Friday at 1:30 p.m. central time, at Florida State’s Seminole Soccer Complex.last_img read more