Women’s soccer: Wisconsin hung tight with nation’s best in NCAA Tournament, Coach Paula Wilkins excited for next year

first_imgThe No. 15 Wisconsin Badgers women’s soccer team fell 1–0 to then No. 1 ranked Stanford just before Thanksgiving. With that, their season was over. They made it to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, which was one round further than last year, which is certainly something to be proud of. They also improved their record from 14-6-2 to 14-4-4, which was only a slight improvement, but an improvement nonetheless. Coach Paula Wilkins was very proud of how her team showed up toward the end of the season.“We played some very good soccer at the end of the year,” Wilkins said. “We were strong both offensively and defensively. I have talked all year about putting together a complete game together and we finally managed to do that in the first two rounds of the tournament.”Wisconsin dominated their first two opponents in the NCAA Tournament, Memphis and Hofstra, 3–0 and 6–0. They struggled to score goals all season, which was the most disappointing part of the season, Wilkins said, but their offense came to play come playoff time.Wilkins also felt very positively about the team’s progress made this season.“I think our experience finally started to pay off,” Wilkins said. “Last year’s postseason game against South Carolina and playing Florida State early on gave us some real challenges and it prepared us for our tough competition this year.”Women’s hockey: Badgers dominate Syracuse in a convincing weekend sweepIn a stunningly lopsided pair of contests this past weekend, the No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers (17-1-0, 7-1-0 WCHA) defeated the Read…There are a couple players in particular that Wilkins was especially impressed by this season, and new goalie Jordyn Bloomer was one in particular.After former goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem graduated, Wilkins said Bloomer “stepped up” to the task.“She did everything we could have asked her to do,” Wilkins said.Usually occupying the midfield, Claire Shea also managed to step up in replacement of defender Sammy Kleedtke.Kleedtke occupied an important role on a staunch Badger defense. Though she doesn’t often appear in the box score, the sophomore started all 22 games her freshman year in 2017 and played 11 this year before going down with an injury.“[Shea] did a really good job of bringing in some consistency in the back and on 1-on-1 defending,” Wilkins said. “She was a big difference maker for us.”Though the 2018 season may be over, this vast majority of this group’s time at Wisconsin is not.Though she started off slow, Dani Rhodes ended the Badgers’ season on a tear, leading the team in goals with 10. A large sum of those scores came from her four-goal performance in the 6–0 rout over Hofstra during round two of the NCAA Tournament. Rhodes’ performance was the most goals ever for a single game among Badgers and also puts her in a tie for the Big Ten single-game record.Volleyball: Badgers cruise to sixth straight Sweet 16 with wins over Green Bay, PepperdineAfter receiving a No. 6 seed in the NCAA Women’s Volleyball Tournament, the University of Wisconsin volleyball team had to Read…With Rhodes and other key contributors returning in 2019, Wilkins feels optimistic about the upcoming soccer season. “I’m excited for next year,” Wilkins said. “We are returning 10 starters and will have even more experience next year. It hurts losing Alexis Tye and Emily Borgmann, but I feel really good about our defensive development and with Dani Rhodes and Cameron Murtha on offense, we should have no problem scoring goals.”These are promising words for Wisconsin women’s soccer fans who hope to advance even further in the Tournament next fall. With a few exceptions, the team is returning nearly all of their players and will be hungry for success after a heartbreaking 1–0 result to Stanford. Tune back in next August to watch the Wisconsin women’s soccer team get back after it.last_img read more

Beat writers unanimously pick Syracuse to take care of St. Bonaventure

first_img Facebook Twitter Google+ A season ago, St. Bonaventure (4-8) came to the Carrier Dome and upset Syracuse (8-4) in overtime. But this isn’t the same Bonnies, and they enter on a three-game losing streak before Saturday’s game in the Dome. SU comes off a bounceback win over Arkansas State after two-straight losses before that.Here’s what our beat writers think will happen after Saturday’s 2 p.m. tip-off.Billy Heyen (10-2)Night and daySyracuse 77, St. Bonaventure 61Syracuse’s loss to St. Bonaventure a year ago was legitimate, but the Bonnies are a vastly different team this year. They lost their two senior guards to graduation, and instead rely heavily on some freshmen to make plays that they aren’t quite ready to make consistently. The Orange shouldn’t have any trouble in going into ACC play with two-straight wins. The biggest key for SU, beyond just a win, will be continuing to “scratch the surface,” as Jim Boeheim said, on the offense it’ll need to be successful in conference play.Charlie DiSturco (9-3)What’s a Bonnie?Syracuse 68, St. Bonaventure 55AdvertisementThis is placeholder textThis is Syracuse’s last nonconference game, and one that’s a must win. With Frank Howard nearing 100 percent and the Orange trying to reconfigure its offense, Saturday is a perfect opportunity to gain some momentum entering ACC play. The Bonnies enter this matchup off a loss to Northeastern, a team SU beat by 23. The Orange should have no problem walking away with its second straight win.Matthew Gutierrez (8-4)Bonnie & ClydeSyracuse 70, St. Bonaventure 62All of this time off provides Syracuse a buffer. A buffer before the rigors of conference play, time to rest and reload and practices to maybe develop some scoring tactics. Senior point guard Frank Howard could use the days to continue to progress and get back to his former self. The Orange will win its final game of 2018 and get another week off before conference play starts Jan. 5 in South Bend, Indiana. Comments Published on December 28, 2018 at 10:44 amlast_img read more