Forcing the Badgers into double overtime during a hard-fought battle at Loyola Soccer Park, the Loyola women’s soccer team (3-0-1) held on against its Big Ten opponents Sept. 2, tying University of Wisconsin-Madison 0-0. This marks the Ramblers’ best start through four games in program history.
Five different Loyola players were able to tally shots including two on goal, which came from junior midfielder Megan Nemec and senior forward Bailey Faulkner.
For Loyola head coach Barry Bimbi, it was all about the mentality heading into this matchup. He said the Ramblers’ key to holding Wisconsin scoreless today was keeping their confidence and sticking to their tactics.
“I thought our girls stuck to our game plan throughout the game, and I thought we shut them down pretty well,” he said. “I thought we were kind of the better team in the first half, and they kind of had us on our back heel a little bit in the second half just because of [their halftime] adjustments. And our girls stood tall and held them with no goals.”
The ultimately scoreless first half began with two corner kicks by Loyola in the first 15 minutes. Although no shots on goal were taken until Loyola’s junior defender Megan Demski in the 41st minute, both teams battled hard in the midfield and were unable to completely dominate the other.
However, the Ramblers were able to finish the half with four shots including the one on goal, while the Badgers only tallied one. Loyola was also awarded five corner kicks compared to Wisconsin’s one.
The second half began with both teams once again fighting hard, but the Badgers were able to put up more attempts and took six shots compared to the Ramblers’ three. Even with a last-minute attempt from the home team as junior midfielder Megan Nemec weaved her way towards the goal, the Ramblers were unable to score.
In the first overtime, the Badgers took three shots but Loyola wasn’t able to make a shot of its own. However, the Ramblers put forth a strong attempt at a goal with just over one minute left.
The home team put up a fight in the second overtime with another close chance in the 106th minute. Nemec kept pushing through to score, but it wasn’t enough for Loyola to put one in.
Senior goalkeeper Maddie Hausmann said the team’s focus tonight was to show its opponents and anyone watching that the Ramblers are capable of holding their own against a high-level team.
“We know we can hang with these teams and we know we can compete with any team on our schedule,” she said. “Our goal tonight was to prove it to Wisconsin and to prove it to the rest of our conference and prove it to the nation that we can compete with any team.”
The match’s intensity overflowed beyond the pitch into the stands where a captivated crowd stayed engaged to the end.
“It’s great to see all of the support for just women’s sports in general,” Hausmann said. “It’s great to have people here.”
Loyola will travel to Lincoln, Nebraska Sept. 5 to face off against University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Kick-off is scheduled for 1 p.m. and the game is set to be broadcast on Big Ten Network+.