first_imgA late goal from leading scorer Rose Lavelle proved to be the difference for the Wisconsin women’s soccer team Sunday against Michigan State, propelling the Badgers to a 1-0 Senior Day victory and to the top of the Big Ten Standings.While tied at zero after the opening half, the score wasn’t indicative to the flow of the game. The Badgers (10-4-3, 7-1-1 Big Ten) dominated every statistical category aside from goals scored, outshooting the Spartans(7-4-4, 3-3-2 Big Ten) 8-1 and dominating possession in the attacking third. Lavelle dictated the offense and registered a game-high three shots in the first 45 minutes, but failed to challenge the keeper on any of them.While frustrated with the team’s inefficiency, Lavelle said staying poised was a point of emphasis for the offense during halftime discussion.“We felt we had the momentum of the game, we just had to finish our chances and get a little more on goal,” Lavelle said. “We had some shots, but not enough on target.”Badger goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem’s only required first-half save came in the 24th minute on an uninspiring header from Michigan State’s Michaela Kovacs that bounced unthreateningly into Clem’s hands. The Spartans’ lack of offensive production could be attributed to an aggressive defensive approach from the Badgers, as Wisconsin heavily pressed Michigan State in every third and consistently forced turnovers throughout the half.After a display of inaccurate shooting and missed opportunities in the opening 45 minutes, the Badgers came out with a similar aggression in the second half. The Spartans started to respond more effectively to Wisconsin’s press, however, and managed to put together a string of on-goal opportunities near the 60th minute of play. But similar to the Badgers, the Spartans failed to convert a shot.Wisconsin’s Kinley McNicoll led the charge on offense after halftime with a series of near misses over the crossbar, one on a header and another on a rocket from outside the box. As a team, the Badgers registered 17 shots on goal going into the 75th minute, but only five were on-goal opportunities that tested Michigan State keeper Gabrielle Gauruder.With seven minutes left in regulation and overtime looming, the Badgers finally broke through on Lavelle’s sixth goal of the season. Michala Powers initiated the score with a corner kick, which was flicked on by midfielder McKenna Meuer to Lavelle. Catching Gauruder and the defense out of position, Lavelle bounced the ball into the back of the net on a perfectly placed header. Following the goal, the Badgers parked the bus on defense and held off a barrage of shots from the Spartans to preserve the victory.Between Thursday’s dramatic three-goal comeback and Sunday’s late-game finish, Wilkins expressed her relief to come away with two crucial victories late in conference play.“I think I have to call my hairdresser and get my hair colored because I’ve got some gray hairs, but I thought we did a pretty good job of possessing it and creating some good opportunities,” Wilkins said. “I was pretty confident that they were going to be OK at the end.”The Badgers hit the road for their next match, taking on Maryland Oct. 24 in a 6 p.m. kickoff. Wisconsin currently holds a three-point lead in the Big Ten with two games remaining.last_img

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