As the University of Wisconsin women’s soccer team enters their final two games of the regular season, the team prepares to say goodbye to five seniors.
In these five veterans lie two dynamic players who have played pivotal roles in the Badgers’ success throughout their entire careers at UW. Seniors Rose Lavelle and Micaela Powers both committed to Wisconsin back in 2011. Now, as the 2016 season nears its end, the two midfielders from the Cincinnati area reflect upon their long career with Wisconsin.
“It’s sad to see it winding down,” Lavelle said. “It’s gone by so fast, but at the same time we still have some business to take care of so I have to stay focused on what we want to accomplish.”
Powers is trying not to acknowledge that these are her last few games in a Wisconsin uniform, and instead go about her business as if it were any other game.
“I don’t really look at it like it’s coming down to the wire,” Powers said. “I’m just trying to enjoy the whole process and take it one game at a time.”
Throughout their careers at Wisconsin, Lavelle and Powers have combined to help the Badgers maintain a winning record since 2013. Lavelle has notched 19 goals in her Badger career while Powers is having her best season to date offensively in 2016 by tallying four goals.
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During their sophomore years, they assisted the Badgers to recording their winningest season in school history. In 2014, Wisconsin finished (19-3-2, 9-2-2 Big Ten) and won the Big Ten Tournament Championship. This year-long performance earned the Badgers an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament, where they lost a heartbreaker in the second round to University of Central Florida.
In that stellar year, Lavelle gathered three goals while Powers collected her first career goal as a Badger. Powers’ goal came in the final game against UCF as a late score, in which Lavelle sent a corner kick that Powers headed into the back post.
Lavelle and Powers were also a part of the 2015 Big Ten regular season champion team that featured an eight-game winning streak even after a 3-4-4 overall start to the year.
Just this preseason, Lavelle added yet another accomplishment to her résumé after Top Draw Soccer named her the No. 1 collegiate women’s soccer player in the country.
With everything that has occurred in the last four years, highs and lows alike, the teammates still remember the feeling of stepping out on the field wearing a Wisconsin uniform for the first time more than three years ago.
“It was so cool,” Lavelle said. “I feel the same way every time I get to put it on. To represent such a great university and to do it with my best friends and such a great coaching staff has been fun.”
In their final act, Lavelle and Powers lead the Badgers to their last two regular season games with a record of 7-4-6. This is an impressive total considering this year’s Badgers team lost seven starters from the previous season’s lineup.
As the two look to life after UW soccer, Lavelle hopes to play professionally and plans to enter the National Women’s Soccer League draft, while Powers is not quite finished with her time as a student at UW and will finish another year of school before graduation.
Moving on brings both excitement and nervousness, but also brings along a feeling of sadness. Powers, after four years playing soccer at Wisconsin and many more before college, knows she will miss the sport’s sense of camaraderie the most.
“Definitely the sense of family,” Powers said. “As you get older, you realize that the sport isn’t what you’re really going to miss, but it’s the competitive edge you get when you’re playing with people you care about and that you consider family.”
Lavelle and Powers will play at the McClimon Track/Soccer complex for the last time Oct. 26 against the Rutgers University Scarlet Knights. Game time is at 7 p.m. and full coverage will be provided on BTN PLUS.