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Women’s Soccer: NCAA Tournament Preview

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Wisconsin has its hands full against in-state first-round opponent

Has Bucky found the next Badger in the 2015 class? Mary Langenfeld-USA TODAY Sports

The No. 10 Wisconsin (14-3-2 overall, 10-1-1 B1G) begin the NCAA tournament Friday evening at 5 p.m. against the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee. As the reigning B1G regular season champion Wisconsin Badgers prepare for the Panthers of Milwaukee, here is everything you need to be prepared for the tournament.

Wisconsin’s history in the NCAA tournament

This is Wisconsin’s fourth consecutive appearance in the NCAA tournament and 22nd overall. The furthest Wisconsin has advanced is the national runner-up in 1991 and the Final Four in 1988. In this century, Wisconsin has twice made it to the Sweet 16 in 2018 and 2009.

Wisconsin’s year to date

Wisconsin’s season began with a brutal schedule including road games against then top-10 teams Florida State and UCLA. While Wisconsin lost each of these games 1-0, the challenging non-conference schedule prepared Wisconsin to go on a huge run in the B1G regular season, as it went 10-0-1 in conference.

During regular season conference play, the Badgers outscored B1G opponents 20-5 and forced seven shutouts in 11 games. However, the post-season has not been kind to Wisconsin this season, as it lost a first-round match to Purdue in the B1G tournament.

2019 key statistics

Goals scored: 1.42 goals per game (No. 7 B1G, No. 150 NCAA)

Goals against average: .508 (No. 1 B1G, No. 14 NCAA)

Goal leader: Dani Rhodes; 11 goals, 0.58 goals per game (No. 2 B1G, No. 55 NCAA)

Save percentage leader: Jordyn Bloomer, 0.846 (No. 1 B1G, No. 28 NCAA)

Round 1 preview

Wisconsin kicks off the NCAA tournament with a home match against Milwaukee (17-1-1 overall, 8-0-1 Horizon). Milwaukee is a relatively untested team, as it has not played a ranked opponent to date. However, it has dominated of late, giving up only two goals in the last 13 games en route to earning Horizon league regular season and tournament championships.

Wisconsin and Milwaukee play with very similar styles, as both are defensive-minded squads. Milwaukee’s goalie, Elaina LaMacchia, has the best save percentage in the country at .926. As a team, Milwaukee’s goals against average is even better than Wisconsin’s at .492.

Offensively, Milwaukee is lead by Haley Johnson who has scored nine goals on the season.

Wisconsin has a better resume than Milwaukee, but this game could very well go into overtime. The first goal will likely win the game, and a low-scoring game could help Milwaukee pull off the upset. This should be a very tense game at the McClimon Complex.

How to watch

Unfortunately, only BTN+ subscribers will have access to watching this game.

Sometimes if you are on a college campus, you gain complete access to BTN+. If you can find a way to get on campus wifi, you may be able to watch for free.

Possible round 2 opponents

No. 12 Duke (8-3-7 overall, 3-1-6 ACC) - No. 14 RPI

Utah (8-8-4 overall, 3-5-3 Pac 12) - No. 51 RPI

Likely round 3 opponent

No 7 UCLA (14-4-1 overall, 8-3-0 ACC) - No. 7 RPI