The Rutgers women’s soccer team faced off against Wisconsin in the opening round of the Big Ten Tournament on Sunday. The Scarlet Knights (9-6-3, 5-4-1) were defeated 4-1 in a penalty kick shootout after both teams went scoreless in regulation and two periods of overtime.
Despite the Badgers' (12-3-3, 7-2-1) home-field advantage, Rutgers had the quicker start to the match. In the 7th minute, senior midfielder Sara Brocious fired a shot on goal that warranted a diving save from Erin McKinney.
That would be the Knights' best chance of the first half, as No. 16 Wisconsin dominated possession and the scoring opportunities for the rest of the half. The Badgers consistently put pressure on Rutgers’ backline and forced redshirt freshman goalkeeper Olivia Bodmer to make three saves in the half.
Bodmer's three saves proved to be crucial as the match remained scoreless heading into halftime. Wisconsin led 10-2 in shots, 3-2 in shots on goal and 5-0 in corner kicks in the first half.
The second half continued in a similar fashion to the first. The Knights would not attempt a shot until the final 10 minutes of the half. In the final 10 minutes, the team pushed for a winning goal, forcing McKinney to make saves in both the 84th and 86th minutes.
The Badgers nearly secured the win in the 89th minute off of a corner kick, but Brocious saved the game for Rutgers with a huge goal-line clearance.
Despite their lacking offense, the Knights' backline and Bodmer remained strong and helped keep the game scoreless in regulation. Wisconsin had a 23-6 lead in shots and forced Bodmer into making seven saves in regulation.
As the match headed into overtime, the Badgers controlled the first period, forcing Bodmer to make two more big saves to keep the game tied at 0-0. Rutgers only attempted one shot in the first period of overtime. The second period of overtime was more even as both teams battled for possession and attempted one shot.
Following two scoreless 10-minute overtime periods, the playoff match would have to be settled in a penalty kick shootout.
Wisconsin led off in the shootout as Aryssa Mahrt buried her attempt past Bodmer. Senior midfielder and forward Sam Kroeger would miss the Knights' first attempt, giving the Badgers the early 1-0 advantage.
Wisconsin took a commanding 2-0 lead in the second round as it made its penalty shot, and Rutgers missed its own.
The Badgers converted again to take a 3-0 advantage, but senior forward Allison Lowrey scored her penalty kick to keep the Knights alive in the shootout. On the very next penalty kick, though, Ashley Martinez put her shot past Bodmer to give Wisconsin the 4-1 penalty shootout victory and knock Rutgers out of the Big Ten Tournament.
Bodmer finished the match, tying her career-high with nine saves, as she did everything she could to keep the Knights in the game.
Rutgers will now hope for an at-large NCAA Tournament bid to make the NCAA Tournament for a 12th consecutive season when the selection committee makes its decision next week.
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