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Women’s soccer advances to the Big Ten Tournament Final with a win over Wisconsin

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It’s their first appearance in the final since 1997, and a chance for the first championship in program history.

A game-winning goal in the second overtime by Maria Fayeulle propelled Northwestern to a thrilling 2-1 overtime victory over Wisconsin in yesterday’s Big Ten semifinal. The senior’s first goal of the season could not have come at a better time, sending the Wildcats not only to their first Big Ten championship game in 20 years, but potentially to a home matchup in the first round of the NCAA tournament as well. Brenna Lovera sent Fayeulle in with a beautiful cross, and she took care of the rest:

The scoring opened in the sixth minute, as Marisa Viggiano moved into a tie for fifth in program history with 15 career assists (and a team-high 7 on the season) by blasting a free kick to the head of Hannah Davison, who put it away into the near post:

Northwestern, who had put up 5 straight shutouts (including their 1-0 quarterfinal win against Purdue) heading into what was their third Big Ten semifinal in three years, had an insane 531 minute scoreless streak snapped midway through the second half by Wisconsin’s Lauren Rice. But star senior goalkeeper Lauren Clem, who last week became the program record-holder in career shutouts with 47, made several crucial saves, and the Wildcats held off 20 total shots by the Badgers before Fayeulle’s game winner in the 105th minute.

Northwestern, the No. 2 seed in the Big Ten tournament, will face No. 5 seed Penn State on Sunday in Westfield, Indiana for the title. The Nittany Lions took down No. 4 Rutgers and then outlasted top-seeded Ohio State in yesterday’s first double overtime semifinal to reach the championship game. The matchup pits one of the winningest programs in Big Ten history, with Penn State holding 18 regular season titles and 6 Big Ten tournament championships, against relative newcomers, as the share of the regular season title Northwestern garnered last year was the first championship of any kind in program history.

The game will be broadcast live at 1:00 p.m. CST on both BTN and BTN2Go. Make sure to tune in!

UPDATE: The game’s start time has been changed to 10:00 am CST. It will be broadcast live then on BTN2Go, and a tape-delayed version will still air at 1:00 on BTN.