Nov. 14, 2009

MADISON, Wis. -- It goes down as a tie officially, but Friday's result was every bit as good as a win for the Wisconsin women's soccer team.

The Badgers remain alive in the NCAA Tournament after two diving saves by sophomore Michele Dalton lifted UW past Arizona State in a thrilling shootout at the McClimon Complex and into a second-round matchup with Central Florida.

The first round of the tournament proved to be exciting, as the Badgers played down to the wire. After UW's ninth overtime of the season, the score remained knotted 1-1 and forced penalty kicks to decide the advancing team.

Wisconsin went down in the count early when Sun Devils goalkeeper Katie Cochran knocked down Erin Jacobsen's first attempt. After each team made the next three attempts, before Dalton stopped Courtney Tinnin's shot to knot the score at three.

Roxanne Carlson made UW's fourth penalty kick to give UW a 4-3 advantage, putting the pressure on Dalton and ASU's final shooter, Jill Shoquist. Dalton dove to the left, swatting down Shoquist's shot before the players and fans rushed the field.

"There's no words to describe it," said an emotional Dalton. "What I was thinking at that moment and what I'm feeling right now, it's surreal. Paula [Wilkins] talks about living in the moment and that was a moment I will never forget, ever. It was such an emotional thing and I'm glad we won. "

The Badgers' late success came only because of an early goal, as the Badgers jumped out to a 1-0 lead after a score at the 1:39 mark. Lindsey Johnson made a perfect serve on a flip throw-in to set up Leigh Williams, who was at the back edge of the 6-yard box to covert the score.

"It panicked me to be honest," said head coach Paula Wilkins about the Badgers' first goal. "We don't normally score that early. I thought there was a lot of game to be played and I knew the wind would make a big difference in the second half.

"At halftime I told the team the biggest thing is this is the end of somebody's season and that the next 45 minutes would be very tough. It's a learning process for our players still, but a great learning process and I'm glad we got the result. It's exciting for them but I hope we've learned from that for Sunday."

Wisconsin came out strong in the first half, but found itself defending for most of the game after that. After outshooting the Sun Devils 7-5 in the opening period, Arizona State came out hungry with nine shots in the second half.

ASU's Aissa Sanchez evened the score at 1-1 in the 71st minute with a shot into the right side netting from inside the 18-yard box.

The Sun Devils held the momentum and out-shot the Badgers, 9-4, in the second half. In all, ASU finished the game with 19 shots to Wisconsin's 14.

Dalton had seven saves in goal for the Badgers, while Alyssa Gillmore had six for Arizona State.

Wisconsin's NCAA run continues at 1 p.m. Sunday, when the Badgers face third-seeded Central Florida at McClimon. The Knights advanced to the second round by shutting out Milwaukee in a 3-0 win earlier Friday.