Double-overtime loss costs UW sole ownership of regular season Big Ten title

Rose Lavelle and the Badgers earned a spot in the NCAA Tournament despite losing to Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament.

Image By: Brandon Moe

In a stunning end to what was a dominating eight-game win streak and miracle season turnaround, the Badgers fell to Northwestern in a heartbreaking double-overtime defeat at the at the McClimon Sports Complex Wednesday night. 

While having clinched a share of the Big Ten title last weekend with its victory on the road against a struggling Maryland, Wisconsin lost the distinction of being the only holder of the conference title. 

The Badgers (8-2-1 Big Ten, 10-5-3 overall) needed a win or a draw against the Wildcats (7-3-1, 13-4-2)  to claim sole ownership of the Big Ten title. Their loss opened the door for the Penn State Nittany Lions (8-2-1, 13-3-2) to also claim partial ownership and share the title. Penn State is the only other Big Ten team, besides Northwestern, to beat Wisconsin, and holds the tiebreaker against Wisconsin when it comes to determining matchups for the Big Ten tournament.

A scoreless and gridlocked game broke wide open with just under 17 minutes remaining in the second half. While surrounded by the Northwestern defense, junior midfielder Rose Lavelle rocketed a shot from just within the 18-yard box, sending the ball soaring past Wildcat goalkeeper Lauren Clem, incidentally the cousin of Wisconsin goalkeeper Caitlyn Clem, to give the Badgers the lead. 

But the Badgers failed to lock down the win. Northwestern’s response came with less than 10 minutes to go, taking advantage of an ugly Badger defensive error. Wildcat junior forward Addie Steiner snuck in behind the backline, stealing a weak pass back intended for Clem. Capitalizing, Steiner beat Clem and scored against an open net. Having tied up the game, Northwestern took the Badgers to overtime where they struggled to hold on against a tide of Wildcat momentum.

With just over three minutes remaining in the second overtime, Northwestern struck again. Capitalizing on a cross, Wildcat Kassidy Gorman scored, effectively ending the game with the golden goal.

For head coach Paula Wilkins, it’s up to her players to decide how to react to the loss.

“You can use it to motivate you and prepare you for the next game by remembering this feeling,” Wilkins said.

UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.

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