CHAMPAIGN – Kickoff was pushed back an hour, but that didn't stop Michigan from rolling once the match started.
After a delay because of Illinois' triple-overtime loss to Penn State, the Wolverines scored four first-half goals and beat a tired Wisconsin squad 4-2 in Friday night's second Big Ten semifinal at Illini field.
"Our goal was to score early, and we did that," Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher said. "We came out strong and we were on our game tonight, and we're pleased with our performance."
Senior forward Marie Spaccarotella put Michigan in front.
"I think that first goal was the most important," Wisconsin coach Dean Duerst said. "That's the goal that put us in a hole right at the start, and we just couldn't get out of it. But our kids fought hard, and that's the kind of thing a coach likes to see.
Wolverine goalkeeper Carissa Stewart had nine saves in her second victory of the tournament.
"Carissa thrives on pressure and big games," Rademacher said. "She's been strong for us this year. She's a senior, so she has a lot of experience, and I think that experience and leadership is showing."
The Badgers looked worn out a day after their double-overtime victory against Purdue.
"I think that's a factor," Duerst said. "We weren't as sharp or as crisp as we could have been. They had a lot of energy, and we were caught back on our heels a little bit."
Michigan will have a day of rest before taking on Penn State in the championship match.
"We'll probably get in the pool and relax," Rademacher said. "We won't practice or run around or anything. We'll just get the legs rested."