The Toledo women’s soccer team lost 5-0 to the University of Wisconsin in the first round of the NCAA tournament Nov. 10 on a cold Wisconsin night. The Rocket season ended with a 12-8-3 record and the team’s fifth Mid-American Conference championship.
"Give credit to Wisconsin,” said UT head coach TJ Buchholz. "They are a heck of a team. They made some great plays. Scoring their first goal really took a lot of wind out of our sails.”
Four different players scored for the Badgers as they outshot UT 24-5 with 12 of those shots on goal. Fourth-year forward Sophie Pohl recorded two shots, but she was the only Rocket player to have more than one.
First-year goalkeeper Madison Perrin played well, coming up with seven saves in the loss.
Wisconsin came out attacking aggressively, and they recorded five shots in the first 20 minutes, compared to only one made by the Rockets. UT was on the defensive for most of the first half, forcing Perrin to make several big saves.
During a three-minute period, Wisconsin held the ball close to Toledo’s box and shot three times. Perrin was able to stop all three. The Rockets did not manage a scoring opportunity for the final 20 minutes of the first half.
Thanks to Perrin’s five saves, despite only getting off two shots, the Rockets made it to halftime tied 0-0.
It did not take long into the second half before the Badgers scored the game’s first goal. In the 54th minute, second-year defender Grace Douglas scored her first career goal as she beat Perrin and gave UW a 1-0 lead.
"We expected the outcome to be closer, but it's never easy to go on the road and get a result,” said Buchholz. “It was even at half, and then they made a couple of plays that took us out of what we wanted to do.”
It was not long before they added to their lead. In the 58th minute, Douglas received the cross from outside the box and headed it past Perrin and into the back of the net to give her team a 2-0 advantage.
First-year forward Lauren Rice got in on the action two minutes later with her fourth goal of the season.
After Perrin made a save, she did not control the rebound. Rice found the ball and scored. The Badgers took control of the game in a six-minute span.
Then Jordan McNeese, a second-year defender for Wisconsin, snuck a ball past Perrin and inside the post to put her team ahead by four.
The Rockets never stopped fighting, however. After second-year midfielder Allie Winterfield scored to make it 5-0, UT began to get some good looks at goal. Pohl fired a shot on goal, forcing a save. Pohl got another shot shortly after, but it went wide of the net, and that was the last scoring chance of the match for either team.
"The loss hurts, but we are still Mid-American Conference champs," Buchholz said. "We still have that trophy and still have a season to be proud of. We're going to keep our head high and not let this loss get us down."
The Rockets are now 0-5 all-time in the NCAA tournament. This was the last game wearing the midnight blue and gold for Olympian Isa Echeverri and MAC championship game hero Sophie Pohl. Captains Regan Price and Perrin are among the returning Rockets for next season.