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Sunday, May 19, 2024
Badgers salvage a split against MSU on Senior Day

Giles: Senior forward Jasmine Giles was one of four Badgers to play her final contest at the Kohl Center Sunday.

Badgers salvage a split against MSU on Senior Day

Senior forward Jasmine Giles has never missed a game in her playing career at Wisconsin, but Sunday's win over Minnesota State is probably one that won't get lost among her countless starts. After starting the game with a ceremony honoring the graduating class of four seniors, the Badgers made sure their last game at the Kohl Center would not be a disappointment.

It was a perfect script for Senior Day, with Giles scoring twice and her linemate, fellow senior forward Kyla Sanders, adding another goal. Giles joked that she tried not to dwell on the fact that the game could be her last in Madison, but said the win was a chance for her to reflect on the four years she spent with the team.

""I don't really think about it much, if I do it'll make me sad,"" she said. ""I just want to remember the great times we had here.""

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Giles' goals were part of an explosive performance from the Badger offense, while their defense shut down the Mavericks' attack Sunday, helping senior goalie Alannah McCready earn a shutout. The 6-0 series finale helped Wisconsin salvage two points from the weekend series after a frustrating loss to Minnesota State Friday.

Freshman defender Alev Kelter said the Badgers' younger players wanted to make their teammates' Senior Day unforgettable, which gave them more motivation to win Sunday.

""We had it written on our big white board: ‘let's play for the seniors,'"" Kelter said. ""If we can do that for the rest of the season we'll do well.""

The victory helped erase the pain of Wisconsin's loss to Minnesota State Friday, where a bad start seemed to haunt the Badgers throughout the game. Freshman goaltender Becca Ruegsegger struggled against the Mavericks, allowing three goals on the first three shots she faced before being pulled for McCready in the first period.

Despite testing Minnesota State sophomore goalie Alli Altmann with 51 shots on goal, the Badgers could only pull themselves within two. Head coach Tracey DeKeyser said she was proud of the way her team battled back against the Mavericks, but admitted the start did not give Wisconsin much of a chance.

""Had the first period gone a little differently it could have been a completely different outcome—it was a big uphill battle after the first 10 minutes,"" DeKeyser said. ""We can't have that happen again, because as you can see we can't always dig ourselves out of it.""

There would be no such issue Sunday, as McCready put forth solid performance in goal while the Badger offense got off to a good start. DeKeyser said it was a relief to see her players finding the back of the net, instead of failing to convert on the good chances they have created all season.

""We've come close so many times to having these breakout, explosive games,"" she said. ""Scoring chances and scoring goals are two very different things, and it was nice to see us scoring goals.""

Wisconsin's freshmen contributed to the scoring Sunday, as Kelter scored her first goal at the college level and had the shot that led to Sanders' goal, while freshman forward Breann Frykas added another in the victory. DeKeyser was glad to see the team send its seniors out on a high note.

""It was nice to see people rewarded for years of effort and time and sweat,"" she said. ""So I'm just really happy that it was able to end this way at the Kohl Center.""

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