Our resident soccer-knower, J.J. Scoops, will be here every Monday with a weekly recap of Big Ten women’s and men’s soccer action.
Wisconsin women’s soccer did the best thing any Wisconsin team can do in any sport: beat Minnesota. Getting a full week of rest after a Sunday non-conference close out at home against Providence, the Badgers made the trip out west to take on the Gophers in the St. Croix River Derby, and they came back to Madison 2-1 victors, extending their unbeaten streak against the Gophers to 10 matches.
The match wasn’t without some early concern for Bucky, who fell behind early on the road after a tenth minute Izzy Brown goal. But the Badgers battled back, as Emma Jaskaniec curled in an equalizer four minutes later, and with just ten minutes to go Jenna Kiraly blasted a winner into the top corner. The victory marked Wisconsin women’s soccer tenth straight Border Battle unbeaten, and extended UW’s unbeaten run to six matches.
The men’s team also had a pretty great week. Starting off by hitting the road to face a strong Marquette side, Bucky was widely considered the underdog in the ever-important in-state clash. But sometimes rankings don’t tell the whole story, and a Jack Finnegan stone cold stunner in double overtime sent the Badgers home to Madison in a winning mood. Wisconsin got back to work on Friday, as Michigan State came to town for a B1G opener under the lights at McClimon.
And though a Josh Adam strike put the Spartans ahead in the first half, a first career goal by Ignasi Marques would cancel out the opener and send the Colony behind the home net into raptures, as the Badgers would go on to play out a solid 1-1 draw.
Elsewhere in the Big Ten women’s soccer world, we have a new king (queen?) Rutgers, at least for now, dethroned Penn State on Sunday, taking down the Nittany Lions 2-1 in a thriller at Yurcak Field. Penn State has won either the regular season or tournament crown each of the last four Big Ten seasons, and this year Rutgers, who has notoriously been on the brink several times, is once again on the cusp of finally getting their hands on some hardware.
I say “once again” because this has happened before. Just last season Rutgers took down Penn State 3-2 in the first conference game of the season, but Penn State would eventually inch their way to the regular season title after an unbeaten finish to the season. But with the Nittany Lions’ talisman from last season in Frankie Tagliaferri now back in her home state on the Banks, and a nationally-regarded recruiting class making their mark early, the buzz continues to grow that this is the year for Rutgers.
Elsewhere on opening weekend, Michigan State earned their first statement win under new head coach Jeff Hosler, taking down an Indiana team with NCAA tournament ambitions. I’ve been higher on the Spartans than most since they brought in Hosler, one of the most successful pound for pound Division II girls soccer coaches in history, as well as Ava Cook, one of the most prolific scorers in DII soccer last year- but I can’t say I expected a win this big this early,
For context, last season the Spartans didn’t beat (or even draw) a single team outside the Big Ten’s bottom four. The next benchmark for Hosler and co. will be to sustaining these strong results in matches down the line, but regardless of how long the unbeaten streak continues there’s unquestionably a new energy in East Lansing.
On the men’s side, there’s not a ton to report due to conference games not fully starting until next week. There was a big upset this week though- as Rutgers knocked off national No. 11 and reigning conference No. 1 Indiana 2-1 in a thrilling road win in Bloomington. The Scarlet Knights are now undefeated at 6-0-1, and are looking more and more like a serious dark horse for the NCAA Tournament this year.
My Week One Big Ten Women's Soccer Power Rankings [THREAD]— J.J. Post (@JayJayPost) September 20, 2021
2. Penn State
4. Ohio State
9. Michigan State
And that’s your Big Ten soccer week one roundup! I’ll see you next Monday with another weekly post, and until then, here are some matchups to keep an eye on this week:
- Michigan @ Rutgers (Thursday, September 23rd)
- Wisconsin @ Michigan (Sunday, September 26th)
- Ohio State @ Penn State (Sunday, September 26th)
- Notre Dame @ Michigan (Tuesday, September 21st)
- Indiana @ Northwestern (Tuesday, September 21st)
- Maryland @ Ohio State (Friday, September 24th)