For the first time in head coach John Trask’s four-season career at Wisconsin, the men’s soccer team claimed victory over Marquette last Wednesday.
Looking back at the win over the Golden Eagles in his press conference Monday, Trask applauded the strong play of Badger attacker Nick Janus.
“Nick has been tremendous. He scored the game-winner against Marquette. It was a bit unfortunate he couldn’t get another one,” Trask said. “He’s playing with that senior drive and energy and he, along with some other guys, are key to the attacking units of this team.”
As senior midfielder Tomislav Zadro continues to recover from meniscus surgery, Wisconsin looks to Janus to provide some stability in the team’s play. With no timetable set for Zadro’s return, Trask is hoping his team continues to find success with their current group of healthy players.
“Tomislav has been out a little while. We’re not sure exactly when we’ll get him back. But as I mentioned to the guys, let’s get that big white elephant out of the room,” Trask said. “These guys needed to prove to themselves, not to us as coaches, but to themselves that they could beat a good team without Tomislav. And then when and if we’re able to add Tomislav back into the team we become a much more dangerous team.”
The Badgers are now 6-2-1 (0-1 Big Ten) as they look ahead to their upcoming battle with Drake Tuesday night. The Bulldogs are riding a six-game winning streak heading into the game. Although posting a mediocre overall record of 5-3-2 (1-0 Missouri Valley Conference) Trask knows they will be taking on a solid Bulldogs team.
“Drake is a very well-coached team,” Trask said. “They’re the type of program that’s maybe not consistently year-in and year-out a top 15, top 20 program. It seems like every couple of years they put things together, and it looks like one of those years.”
Later in the week the Badgers face defending national champion Indiana. The Hoosiers have struggled to collect victories so far this season heading into their meeting with the Badgers Friday night. At the midpoint of the season, the Hoosiers have recorded just four wins with an overall record of 4-6-1 (1-1-0 Big Ten).
Since it will also be Homecoming weekend, Trask said he’s looking for his Badgers team to tap into the atmosphere and gain some energy for the game. With thousands of alumni making the trip to Madison for the weekend’s festivities, Trask is hoping fans in town to see Wisconsin football also take time to come out for Wisconsin soccer.
“It’s a great week for UW Athletics. There is a great soccer crowd in town,” Trask said. “We’re hoping for a good crowd tomorrow and a real good crowd on Friday night. I’m sure if 83,000 are coming to the football game we can share that a little bit with men’s hockey (who plays at the same time) and hopefully draw a few of those people who are back in for the weekend.”
Although the matchup against Indiana is important for Wisconsin, Trask doesn’t want his team to lose sight of the competition that comes first against Drake.
When asked whether his team will be able to focus on Drake with such an important matchup coming later in the week, Trask reiterated a point UW Athletic Director Barry Alvarez had given the team earlier in the season.
“For us as coaches, all that matters is the next game. Men’s soccer, only having six games in conference, you’ve got to do the business. If you want to get to the dance you’ve got to do the business in your nonconference portion,” Trask said. “Sometimes a gentle reminder, more importantly a kick in the ass, makes people realize that if we aren’t focused on Drake we won’t win that game.”