The Wisconsin men’s soccer team will try to break out of its four-game losing streak this weekend in a pair of matches. The Badgers (6-5-1) have only tallied one victory in their last seven games, after starting the season 5-0.
In order to break this streak and gain some much-needed confidence, the Badgers must put together a solid game from start to finish.
UW gets that chance tonight, as they host the IUPUI Jaguars at the McClimon Track and Soccer Complex. Game time is set for 7:00 p.m.
The Jaguars, who are also 6-5-1, are also struggling like the Badgers. IUPUI is 0-3-1 in its last four games as a member of the Mid-Continent Conference. But last season, the team beat UW 2-1 in a tough game that is still fresh on many players’ minds.
“A lot of us have last year’s game on the back of our minds,” senior defensemen Scott Repa said. “We shouldn’t have lost last year, and I don’t plan on it this year.”
IUPUI is a very low-scoring team on offense, but offsets that with a tough goalkeeper in Armando Femia, who has six shutouts and gives up less than a goal a game.
For Wisconsin, the key to this game, as well as most others, is quite simple.
“We need to get an early goal to get our confidence up,” senior forward Dominic DaPra said. “We need to start out in front and go from there.”
After Friday’s game, the Badgers hit the road to face the Michigan Wolverines for a Sunday afternoon tilt in Ann Arbor. Despite Michigan’s 7-4-1 record (1-3 in the Big Ten), the Badgers definitely like their chances in this game.
“We’ll make sure we don’t take them lightly,” Repa said. “But we know that we are the better team out there.”
This confidence comes from last year’s matchup, in which UW dominated the Wolverines 4-1.
“We played them very well last year and are very confident going into this game,” DaPra said, who himself scored twice in last season’s contest. “We definitely feel we should come out with a victory.”
The Wolverines, like the Badgers, come into this match struggling with a 0-3-1 mark in their last four matches. UM has a balanced scoring attack in which 15 players have tallied a point, but in their four-game slide they have only scored four goals.
This would be a great opportunity for the Badgers to get their first Big Ten victory of the season. A sweep this weekend would put the Badgers in great position for their second straight season over .500, as well as some much-needed confidence as they head towards the Big Ten tournament in a few weeks.