The Wisconsin women's hockey team defeated Minnesota 4-1 Sunday to win its first-ever Western Collegiate Hockey Association tournament championship. The Badgers (33-4-1), who also claimed the regular-season title for the first time in school history, scored three of their four goals on power plays to defeat the Gophers (27-10-1).
Junior forward Sara Bauer, who finished with eight points this weekend, was named the tournament Most Valuable Player. The Badgers will next host Mercyhurst in the first round of the NCAA Tournament March 18 at the Capitol Ice Arena in Middleton.
"Obviously, we're real excited," said WCHA Coach of the Year Mark Johnson. "The whole thing started last September, it's a been long journey and they are getting rewards for their efforts. It makes our coaching staff very proud of the group."
Senior forward Cyndy Kenyon, who scored four goals in helping the Badgers to a 9-0 win over St. Cloud State Saturday, notched a power-play goal at 5:14 to kick off Wisconsin's scoring.
Minnesota scored its lone goal midway through the first on the power play, when a crowd in the crease pushed UW senior netminder Meghan Horras and the puck over the goal line. Minnesota senior defender Allie Sanchez was credited with the goal.
With the game tied at 1-1 and the Badgers on a power play late in the first period, junior defender Bobbi-Jo Slusar fired a shot from the blue line that got past Minnesota goalie Brittony Chartier.
Freshman defender Emily Morris scored the Badgers' lone even-strength goal, while junior defender Meaghan Mikkelson notched a power-play goal early in the third period. Mikkelson and Slusar were also credited with one assist each in the game. Bauer had three assists Sunday.
Kenyon, Morris, Slusar and Horras were also named to the all-tournament team, as was WCHA Rookie of the Year and Gopher forward Gigi Marvin and Sanchez.
Horras finished with 28 saves, while Minnesota's Kim Hanlon, who started the game but left after the first due to injury, made five saves and took the loss. Chartier stopped 10 pucks and gave up two goals.
"I'm still shaking from the elation of winning today," Kenyon said. "We've been so close and been on that other side, watching the other team get the trophy. I think it's a huge step for our program, university and team. We all have worked so hard, from top to bottom, everybody has played such an important roll in our success."
A few hours after UW's win over the Gophers, the eight-team NCAA Tournament pool was announced. The Badgers, the No. 2 seed, will host seventh-seeded Mercyhurst (23-7-6), the first time the Badgers have ever hosted an NCAA tournament game.
The last time Wisconsin faced Mercyhurst, Nov. 17, 2002, the Badgers prevailed 4-2; the Badgers will look to improve upon their 4-0 record against the Lakers.
Wisconsin earned an automatic bid after winning the WCHA tournament championship. New Hampshire received the top seed and will host No. 8 Harvard, while No. 6 Minnesota-Duluth travels to No. 3 St. Lawrence and No. 5 Princeton heads to No. 4 Minnesota. If Wisconsin advances to the Frozen Four, it will face the winner of the UMD-St. Lawrence game in Minneapolis.
Softball: Badgers finish 2-3 at Stanford Classic
The Wisconsin softball team capped its weekend at the Stanford Classic with a 6-4 win over Miami (Ohio) Sunday, highlighted by a grand slam from junior pinch hitter Liz Klemp.
The Badgers (6-9) finished 2-3 at the tournament in Palo Alto, Calif., which included the 6-4 win over Miami and a 4-2 win over Middle Tennessee State Friday. The Badgers dropped contests to No. 5 Stanford 12-3, BYU 7-6 in 11 innings, and Pacific 8-2.
In addition to Klemp's grand slam, redshirt freshman first baseman Alexis Garcia hit her first career home run against Middle Tennessee State. Sophomore right fielder Katie Hnatyk led the Badgers with seven hits and four runs batted in, while contributing two runs. Junior center fielder Sam Polito scored a team-best four runs on the weekend.
Junior pitcher Eden Brock gave up 24 hits and 14 earned runs while walking four and striking out 16 batters in 20.2 innings. Freshman pitcher Leah Vanevenhoven pitched 13.1 innings, during which she allowed 17 hits and eight earned runs while walking seven and striking out seven. She gave up five hits and six runs in Stanford's 12-3 trouncing of UW. Freshman pitcher Theresa Boruta saw her only action of the weekend against the Cardinal and relinquished five hits and four earned runs, while walking two and striking out one in two innings of work.
Women's golf: Badgers compete at "Mo"morial
The Wisconsin women's golf team finished 17th out of 18 teams at the "Mo"morial Invitational over the weekend in Bryan, Texas. The Badgers fell three spots Sunday after coming into the final day in a tie for 14th. The Badgers as a team shot a 997 (328-330-339). Host Texas A&M defeated Arkansas in a playoff to win the team portion with a 923, while Texas A&M's Ashley Knoll claimed individual medalist honors with a 2-over 218.
Sophomore Katie Elliott carded a 245 (78-82-85) to finish tied for 49th, UW's best finish, while senior Lindsay McMillan finished in a tie for 65th with a score of 250 (85-80-85).