Wisconsin shoots to put mistakes behind

first_imgOn a wet and blustery evening under the lights of Engelmann Field, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team managed to end its two-game losing streak Wednesday when its match against in-state rival University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee ended in a 1-1 draw after two overtimes. Playing in a hostile environment amid continuous rain and wind, the Badgers (5-4-3 overall, 0-2-1 Big Ten) managed to score only one goal despite out-shooting UWM 21 to 11. After a scoreless first half in which the Badgers took only 3 shots, UW senior Sho Fujita nabbed his first goal of the season off of a penalty kick in the 60th minute. However, less than 10 minutes later, Panthers junior forward Colin Baker evened the score after playing a quick free kick on the ground around a wall from about eight yards out. Overall, the Badgers struggled to capitalize on numerous scoring chances. “I thought we did a lot of good things,” UW head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “In light of outplaying them, and out-shooting them, we unfortunately couldn’t find a way to get a win.” In the second half alone, the Badgers out-shot the Panthers 13 to five. Wisconsin’s Nick Coronna, Brandon Miller and Andy Miller all failed to finish opportunities close to the goal, the closest of which was Andy Miller’s header attempt, which deflected off of the crossbar over the net.One of the high points of the game was the Badgers’ defense, which lived up to its reputation as one of the most aggressive in the conference. “I thought [Wednesday] our defensive effort and intensity with which we pressured the ball was very good, perhaps the best effort in a couple of weeks,” Rohrman said. “That’s something we understand has to be there every game.”It will be critical for the men’s squad to forget the past few games and focus their attention toward the Big Ten when they return home to face Ohio State (8-5-2 overall, 1-1-0 Big Ten) Saturday at 7 p.m. at the McClimon Soccer Complex. Although Ohio State is currently unranked, it has bounced around the national rankings for the entire season.”This is another tremendous opportunity for us to play what is really a top-20 type of team,” Rohrman said. “They are clearly a team that has won some great games, and they are coming in with a very good record. A win on Saturday would go a long way towards our goal of making the NCAA tournament.”The Buckeyes field two of the most talented players in the country on both sides of the ball in defenseman Eric Brunner and forward Xavier Balc, both seniors. Brunner leads a fierce Buckeyes defensive squad and was a first team All-Big Ten selection in 2006. “They have a solid back line,” said Rohrman. “It starts with their senior, Eric Brunner.” The explosive Xavier Balc completes the Buckeyes’ two-headed monster, and his offensive skills will push the Badgers defense to the limit. Balc already owns the OSU career assist record with 21 and is one of the most talented athletes in the Big Ten. “He’s gonna be a guy that we have to be sure to neutralize and be aware of his presence. No matter where he is on the field, he can free himself up to get great serves and good shots on goal,” Rohrman said. “He’s the kind of guy that makes the game for them. He’s just a very dangerous player, and someone that you can’t give a lot of time and space to.”Although Saturday’s game will no doubt be a slugfest, Rohrman is confident that his team has all of the tools to get the job done. “We have to minimize mistakes and take advantage of any mistakes they might give us,” said Rohrman. “They are a team that we can go at and score some goals on. Northwestern was able to put four behind them, and they are not unbeatable by any means. We certainly have to bring it on both sides of the ball on Saturday.”last_img

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