STANFORD, Calif. — After blowing out Memphis and Hofstra in the opening two rounds of the NCAA women’s soccer tournament, the University of Wisconsin met its match in Sunday’s round of 16.
And then some.
Top-ranked Stanford (20-0-2), the defending national champion and weekend host, managed to put a header off the hands of junior goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer and into the back of the net, then held on in a frantic final minute to eliminate the Badgers 1-0 at Laird Q. Cagan Stadium.
The 37th-minute goal stood up after junior forward Dani Rhodes, who scored four goals in a 6-0 win over Hofstra on Friday, was unable to get off a clean shot inside the Cardinal box in the closing seconds.
“One thing we can take away from this game is that we had a good game plan and this game came down to moments,” said UW coach Paula Wilkins, whose team was making a tournament appearance for the seventh time in her 12 seasons. “Obviously the goal in the first half was a moment they were able to score on, and I thought we had two good moments at the end to tie it up. It just showed to these players and this team what it can do.
“I’m obviously very disappointed about it for the seniors and everything they’ve done for us. We just need to take a deep breath and look back on this season and not let the sting of the game hurt us so badly.”
The Badgers (14-4-4), making just their second appearance in the round of 16, managed four corner kicks and also missed out on a scoring chance when senior midfielder Victoria Pickett’s one-touch blast from in front went high and wide.
Wisconsin 0 0 — 0
Stanford 1 0 — 1
First half: S — DiBiasi 10 (Boissiere, Cook), 36:58.
Corner kicks: W 4, S 7. Fouls: W 9, S 11. Offsides: W 1, S 4.
Saves: UW (Bloomer) 3, S (Jahansouz) 2.
Att. — 1,305.