first_imgFor the first time this season the Badgers (5-1-1) blanketed an opponent in their 3-0 win over in-state rival UW-Milwaukee, which fell to 1-6-1 on the season, Sunday at the McClimon Soccer Complex.After the game, Wisconsin head coach Paula Wilkins said despite the comfortable win, she was most impressed with that blank slate by the Badger’s defense and goalkeeper redshirt junior Genevieve Richard.“The biggest excitement that I had is that we were able to get a shutout, and I think that’s very important for us,” Wilkins said. “We hadn’t gotten one this year, and especially being on our home field. For us, Milwaukee has always been a big competitor for us, so to be able to get a shutout here on a wet day was important.”Wisconsin held the Panthers to only one shot on goal throughout the entirety of the game, as the Badgers’ back line kept the action to a bare minimum for Richard between the posts. In total, the Panthers managed only a meager six shots throughout the game – three in the first half and three in the second half – while the Badgers peppered UWM goalkeeper Paige Lincicum with 17 shots with eight of those on goal.Wisconsin dominated possession over the course of the match, but it was the back line that keyed the shutout, according to Wilkins.“I thought our two centerbacks did better,” Wilkins said of freshman Kylie Schwarz and redshirt junior Alexandra Heller. “I thought Kylie Schwarz was very good today in the back for us and I thought that Ali is getting back to her form that she was last year after her injuries, so I think that was an important element. And getting Lexi Peterson back on the field is huge for us.”After starting the first five games, sophomore Peterson sat out the last two games due to an undisclosed injury, but was back in the lineup Sunday at outside back for the Badgers.Although she did not factor into any of the scoring, Peterson’s return was seen in ways more than just on her stat line.“It was awesome having Lexi back,” junior forward Cara Walls said. “It’s awesome having an outside back that can get forward and having an outside back that steps and doesn’t let people turn. She’s not afraid to get forward and she’s really confident when she steps with the ball, so it makes everything a lot easier for the midfield and the forwards.”Not only was Wisconsin strong in its defensive third, but the Badgers also displayed fireworks in the offensive third as well, especially early on.In just the sixth minute, freshman Rose Lavelle found a wide open redshirt junior Kodee Williams, and after receiving the through pass, Williams finished it off for an early 1-0 Badgers’ lead.“The through ball that was just a great run by Kodee. I could kind of see it unfolding and I saw her make that run so I just slipped it through and she had a wide open shot against the goalie,” Lavelle, who tallied two assists in the game, said.Only eight minutes later, Lavelle facilitated more Wisconsin offense as she finessed a corner kick into the eight-yard box where redshirt sophomore Marisa Kresge managed to track down the ball and head it into the back of the net to extend the lead to 2-0.But for almost the rest of the game the Wisconsin offense was held in check, and only notched the final goal as a result of some sloppy defensive play by the Panthers. Lincicum came out into the 18-yard box to play a pass by one of her defenders, but Lavelle harassed Lincicum into a turnover. Wisconsin’s leading scorer Walls found the loose ball and easily drilled a shot into the wide open net.The lack of Wisconsin offense in the middle part of the game was an area that Wilkins feels needs some fine-tuning before the conference season begins.“I thought we did a better job in the first, like, twenty minutes keeping it wide,” Wilkins said. “I thought it could have been more consistent. I thought sometimes we made the game too complicated and that we could have kept more balls where we gave balls away in bad areas. That caused some things for them to have some chances in the second half and that’s something that we’ll go back with in terms of consistency.”Still, nearly everything went Wisconsin’s way against UWM, as the Badgers blew out their in-state rival in their first home win of the season.“I think every time we’ve gone up, we’ve kind of lost focus and let down a bit, which has let the other team get back in it,” Lavelle said.  “So I think we kind of stayed focused even though at the end they had a lot more opportunities than we would have liked. We just fought through it and got the shutout.”last_img