If only every game was played on a Wednesday.
The Wisconsin men’s soccer team took on Illinois Chicago — head coach John Trask’s former team — and in their eighth overtime game of the season the Badgers notched another win.
For the third Wednesday night game in a row, freshman Joey Tennyson has scored a goal. The one against UIC was finally a game-winner.
“He’s Wednesday night,” Trask said. “If we could keep playing all the time on Wednesday night that’d be nice. Tennyson is coming on. He’s a very talented player. That finish was just clinical and that was with his bad foot. He’s got a lot of quality to him. We just need to keep working him and keep the expectations high for him.”
The 1-0 victory would not have been possible if it were not for some other freshmen on the squad who have really been making their mark on the team all season.
Tennyson is not the only freshman making a statement. Yonga played a solid defensive game with an assist on Tennyson’s goal while goalkeeper Max Jentsch got the shut out victory.
For a freshman class, they’re definitely starting to make an impact and find the right groove as they get ready for the Big Ten Tournament.
“It’s great to see us be able to produce as freshman,” Yonga said. “It’s only going to get better as the seasons go on. It’s good. Chris Prince has seven goals, Tennyson’s getting goals, I’m getting assists, Nick Janus is getting points. It’s good to have all these freshman contributions. It’s only going to help in the future.”
Through eight overtime games this season, this is Wisconsin’s first overtime win and its third win overall. But it was not much of a surprise the teams were deadlocked 0-0 for 90 minutes. They played very similar games on both sides of the ball — the type of soccer Trask likes to play.
“I thought it was a good competitive game tonight,” Trask said. “That was great for the guy’s confidence. They picked it up and covered each others’ butts on the goal line to protect us from not losing and then allowed us a chance to win. It was a good finish by Joey Tennyson, just a good play overall.”
It’s easy to see Trask has made his impression on both soccer programs. UIC still plays the way he set them up with while Trask is now shaping the UW program similarly.
With the same defensive shape on both sides and the same type of offensive attack, it’s not surprising there were not many shots on goals or almost no goals at all for that matter.
“They definitely sat back and played their defensive line at midfield,” freshman defenseman Paul Yonga said. “Coach Trask tries to do that with us too so our defensive shape was pretty much the same. Also when they did have the ball they did try to possess it for the most part. Those similarities on defense was the exact same I saw.”
“They like to possess the ball and hold it and play less direct,” freshman forward Joey Tennyson added. “That’s kind of what we try to do too. It was really similar types of play. It was hard to break their defense when they sat back like that.”
With similar styles of play neither team scored through 90 minutes, pushing the Badgers into yet another overtime game on the season.
Through 17 regular season games so far, eight have gone into overtime, and three of those eight have gone into double overtime. But only in one of those games they scored the golden goal.
“I’m glad to see we finally found it within ourselves to score one in overtime,” Trask said of finally getting an overtime win. “We were 0-5-2 in overtime until this game. It’s huge. I told the guys as we keep inching this thing forward. I wish we could gain a foot or a yard real quick.”
“They’re battling for a playoff spot in their own conference tournament so it’s not like we played a rubbish team tonight. We knew they were going to put their heart into it because of everything between the two programs.”