Badgers Hand Lady Spartans First Loss

In a back-and-forth game in which both teams had multiple opportunities to put goals on the scoreboard, the No. 9 Wisconsin Badgers slipped past the Michigan State Spartans 2-1 in overtime.

From the start of the game, Wisconsin controlled much of the possession in the first half and had early chances in the Spartans’ final third, but could not convert within the first 10 minutes.

Michigan State had a fair share of scoring chances in the first half, with an opportunity in the seventh minute.

Senior Paige Wester had a chance inside the 18-yard box to score, but her shot was cleared. Freshman Jamie Cheslik then played the ball back to senior Megan Marsack at the top of the 18-yard box, who hit it over the goal.

In the 15th minute, senior Nicole Caruso had a chance at the top of Wisconsin’s 18-yard box and her shot ricocheted off the crossbar, hit the goal line, and was then cleared by the Wisconsin defense.

“That is a very good Wisconsin team,” MSU head coach Tom Saxton said. “One of the best I have seen and we had four or five chances. If we just committed in the box in the first half we would of had a couple goals in the first half.”

In the 19th minute, the Michigan State defense let the Badgers work their way down the field. Midfielder Kinley McNicoll played a low cross into the middle of MSU’s 18-yard box and Becca Harrison hit it with her left foot into the back of the net to give Wisconsin a 1-0 lead.

The Spartans did not lay down after the Badgers’ goal and they fought for the rest of the half, but could not find the back of the net in the first half.

At the start of the second half, Michigan State continued to battle, and 12 minutes in Cheslik found the back of the net to tie the game 1-1.

“In the first half we were struggling getting balls through, so at halftime we talked about playing balls in early, getting them in behind,” Cheslik said. “Alex (Gjonaj) found a way to do that and the goalie was out pretty far so I just chipped it over her. I think she might have tipped it. It went in, so it’s all that matters.”

After the Spartans tied the game, both teams could not find the back of the net and for the second game in a row, Michigan State headed into overtime.

One minute into the first overtime, Wisconsin got inside Michigan State’s 18-yard box and senior goalie Courtney Clem was forced to make a foot save, which sent the ball out for a corner.

On the Wisconsin corner kick a minute into the first overtime, McNicoll sent a ball into the back post which the Spartans cleared, but it found the foot of Harrison who sent a low shot into the near post which beat Clem.

“We felt great going into the overtime. We had a couple people go down that affected our depth, but boy it was a fantastic college soccer match and (unfortunately) it didn’t end well for us in overtime, but a great match both ways,” Saxton said.

The Spartans will end their first weekend of Big Ten conference play with the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on Sunday at noon at DeMartin Stadium.

Brooks Laimbeer is the host of Corner Kick for Impact Sports.

Photo: Hannah McEnroe/Impact Sports