The Ohio State women’s soccer team is headed to the Big Ten tournament semifinals after an upset victory in Madison, Wisconsin, defeating the Wisconsin Badgers 2-1.
The Buckeyes entered Sunday’s match as the No. 7 seed, with the Badgers holding the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten after the teams went 5-4-2 and 8-2-1 in regular-season conference play, respectively.
With the win, the Buckeyes are now 11-5-3 overall on the year.
OSU was first to get on the scoreboard in the 30th minute when senior midfielder/forward Michela Paradiso was taken down in the box and converted the ensuing penalty kick.
The penalty score was Paradiso’s third goal in the last two games after a two-goal performance in OSU’s regular-season finale. Two of the Columbus native’s goals in the span were off of penalty kicks.
Four minutes after the opening score, junior defender Nicole Miyashiro shot a cross from the right wing and sophomore forward Sammy Edwards headed it in from six yards out to grab a 2-0 lead in front of the crowd of 478.
The Buckeyes continued to attack, nearly taking a 3-0 lead a minute later when junior forward Nichelle Prince played a low strike, but her shot narrowly missed the far post.
OSU sat atop the Badgers 2-0 heading into halftime. Shots were knotted at 8-8 at the break.
Prince played a big role in maintaining the lead in the second half, as she pressured the Badger defense throughout much of the final 45 minutes.
However, in the 71st minute the Badgers cut the lead in half when redshirt senior forward Nikki Greenhalgh finished from inside the box after a loose ball off a corner kick.
In the 75th minute, the Badgers had consecutive chances off a corner to level the match but both were blocked.
The second half consisted of very physical play, and the Badgers pushed until the final buzzer to even the game at 2.
With 20 seconds remaining, the Badgers had a final shot attempt off a header, but the attempt missed wide left to seal the upset win for the visitors.
For the game, Wisconsin held a 22-10 lead in shots, 10-4 on goal. The second half was all Badgers, as they outshot OSU 14-2 in the latter stanza.
OSU goalkeeper Devon Kerr played an impressive game in the net, making nine of 10 saves to improve her record to 5-0-1 in her freshman season. After splitting time in net with redshirt junior Jillian McVicker throughout the season, Kerr seems to have displaced her at the tailend on the depth chart, as she made her second consecutive start.
OSU will look to pull off another upset on Friday, as it is set to play the No. 3-seeded Rutgers Scarlet Knights in State College, Pennsylvania. Kickoff time is yet to be announced.