For the first time in 22 days, Maryland women’s soccer will play a home game, as Wisconsin comes to College Park on Friday.
The Terps are fresh off a 1-2 road trip to begin Big Ten play, while the Badgers went 2-1 to open the conference season, each game needing an overtime period. These two teams haven’t matched since 2015, when Wisconsin defeated the Terps 1-0 at Ludwig Field.
The game kicks off a doubleheader at Ludwig, with men’s soccer directly following, and is scheduled to begin on Friday at 3 p.m. ET, and BTN Plus will have the broadcast.
No. 12 Wisconsin Badgers (8-2, 2-1 Big Ten)
2016 record: 9-5-8, 5-2-4 Big Ten
Head coach Paula Wilkins. Currently in her 11th season as Wisconsin’s head coach, Wilkins is in her 17th overall as a head coach. Between Penn State and Wisconsin, Wilkins has totaled 234 wins and 11 NCAA tournament appearances. Additionally, her teams have only had one losing season since 2001.
Players to Watch
Dani Rhodes, sophomore, forward, No. 15. Since arriving to Madison last year, Rhodes has been one of Wisconsin’s best players. In her 31 games as a Badger, she has 10 goals and 23 points, more than anyone else on the team in that span. She is also averaging just under two shots on goal per game and has four game-winning goals, the latter being tied for second in the country and first in the Big Ten.
Lauren Rice, freshman, forward, No. 9. Rice has made an immediate impact in her first season with Wisconsin. The freshman has notched three goals and two assists, and her .600 shot-on-goal percentage is a team-high among players with at least four shots on goal. Entering the season, Rice was ranked 76th in IMG Academy’s 150 top freshman.
Grace Douglas, sophomore, defender, No. 6. While she didn’t play much in 2016, Douglas has become one of the Badgers’ most trustworthy players. The sophomore has played in every minute of every game this season, the only player on the team to do so. Her eight shots leads all defenseman on the team.
Getting shots on goal. Despite only scoring 16 goals this year, Wisconsin has been very efficient, averaging 7.8 shots on goal per game. The Badgers have a relatively high shot-on-goal percentage, as 52.7 percent of the teams shots are on frame, which shows that the Badgers aren’t afraid to wait for the best scoring chances.
Goalkeeping. While Wisconsin’s goalkeeping hasn’t been terrible, starter Caitlyn Clem could be better. Clem is saving about 75 percent of the shots she faces, which is tied for 10th among 14 Big Ten goalies. Additionally, she is allowing 0.921 goals per game, which is ranked 98th in the country.
Three things to watch
- Is Maryland healthy? This has been the story for a while now, but it remains the Terps’ top concern going forward. Last time out against Northwestern, Maryland showed how much it missed Chelsea Jackson and Mikayla Dayes, and with Dayes not returning this year, Jackson becomes Maryland’s most important player. On the bright side, Jarena Harmon got some game action last Sunday, meaning she is probably ready to play a full game on Friday.
- Can Maryland develop offensive consistency? The biggest consequence of the Terps’ injuries has been a lack of consistency on offense, as they have only scored one goal in the last three games. With or without Jackson, Maryland needs to get something going on that end of the field, or else it risks going into a scoring slump like it did last season to end Big Ten play.
- Will returning home give a jolt to this team? Maryland last played a game at Ludwig Field on Sept. 7, opening conference play with three straight road games. Since the Terps played three close games, coming back to College Park has a chance to ignite this team and give it a huge push as the schedule remains tough down the stretch.