Lady Badgers met with celebration

first_imgThe women\’s hockey team celebrates its most recent national championship with Bucky at the Nicholas Johnson Pavilion.[/media-credit]After winning its third NCAA National Championship in four years, the University of Wisconsin women’s hockey team was formally welcomed home by their fans and friends yesterday at the Nicholas Johnson Pavilion.The celebration yesterday afternoon was one of many. When the Badgers arrived home Sunday night from Boston, where they defeated No. 3 seed Mercyhurst in the finals of the NCAA Frozen Four, an escort of fire engines welcomed them back to campus.As the festivities continued yesterday, they were joined by Chancellor Biddy Martin and Athletic Director Barry Alvarez, who offered their praise for the team.“Take advantage and absorb every second of it,” Alvarez said. “Because what you have accomplished is truly special and appreciated.”With their third victory in four years, the seniors of the Wisconsin women’s hockey team have become one of the most successful teams in Badger history. Over the course of their careers, they have an overall record of 135-16-13.“It’s not too many times you can tell people you were 3-for-4 in winning a national title throughout your career,” senior goaltender and assistant captain Jessie Vetter said. “But, in the future, when we come back for reunions and coming back as fans to watch Wisconsin hockey, it will definitely be pretty special to look up and see the banners you were a part of.”Wisconsin head coach Mark Johnson agrees this senior class, who is rounded out by captain Erika Lawler, Kayla Hagen, Rachael Bible, Alycia Matthews and Angie Keseley, has had unprecedented success in their four years playing for the Badgers.“When the game ended [Sunday], it was just surreal,” Johnson said. “The moment was there, and you are national champions. It was more of a deep sigh of relaxation and a deep sigh about the senior class that has done things and created things, and won things that I don’t think anybody in their wildest dreams thought would happen.”While the team was anchored by a strong senior class, there were other several key players who were instrumental in the Badgers’ run at the national championship. Freshman Brooke Ammerman, who was named WCHA Rookie of the Week three times this season, scored the first goal of the championship game against Mercyhurst that put the Badgers up for good. Junior Meghan Duggan contributed in the game, scoring a goal in the second period, as well.“It is just a combo of every player on the team,” Vetter said. “You know, the freshmen contributed [and so did] the sophomores, juniors and seniors. I think everyone played a part in getting us to where we are. It wasn’t just one person or two, it was just everyone coming together and playing great.”Just as the collegiate season is ending for the Badgers, it is just heating up for Team USA. Johnson, who was chosen to be the head coach of the Team USA at the Vancouver Olympics in 2010, will be heading to Lake Placid to begin formulating his team to make a run at the gold medal. With interim coaches in place, he is confident Wisconsin will be able to make a similar run as they did this year.“They have a strong freshman class coming in,” Johnson said. “Obviously, some of the pieces we have on this team that will be leaving and graduating will be tough to fill. But, that is going to happen in a normal year. You are not going to find another Jessie Vetter right away. Erika Lawler and Angie Keseley, I mean these players have put up big numbers and have done very well in four years.”last_img

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