EVANSTON, Ill. — Northwestern senior Lauren Clem showed why she is one of the best goalkeepers in NCAA history as she stopped three straight attempts to close the penalty kick shootout, leading Northwestern over Butler in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The Wildcats will play at No. 2 seed UCLA Friday night at 10 p.m. CT.
Northwestern and Butler officially played to a scoreless draw after 110 minutes and two overtimes, but NU advanced 3-2 on penalty kicks.
This is the third consecutive year Northwestern has won its first round NCAA Tournament game.
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Clem moved into sole possession of third place in NCAA history with her 48th career shutout. Northwestern continued its home shutout streak, running it to 724 minutes, the longest such streak in program history.
Junior Brenna Lovera, first year Kylie Fisher, and junior Hannah Davison found the back of the net on their penalty kick attempts. Butler made the first two before Clem shut the Bulldogs down, including a stop on the fifth attempt that sent the Wildcats into celebration mode.
Northwestern took 10 shots Sunday, led by Lovera and first year Regan Steigleder with two each.
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As expected, both teams played great defense and neither side had many opportunities to score. The Wildcats held Butler to just two chances in the first half, with Clem only having to make one easy save.
Madi Kennel came close to avoiding all the late drama in the second half when she received a pass from Regan Steigleder just outside the box and clanged her shot off the crossbar. The ball then ricocheted off the goalkeeper and hit the post before falling wide.
Northwestern is now 4-0-7 in its last 11 overtime games dating back to 2014.
The Wildcats have never lost a penalty kick shootout in program history.
Chicago's Big Ten Team (13-7-2) improved to 5-0 all-time against Butler in the teams' first meeting since 1999.
Northwestern is 1-0 all-time against UCLA, a 1-0 win at home on Aug. 29, 2010.