In recent weeks, The University of Wisconsin men's soccer team has struggled to regain the dominance they played with earlier in the season.
Since starting off 5-0, the Badgers (6-4-1) are 1-4-1 in their last six games, including three losses in a row.
In those last six games, UW has been outscored 16-6, although included in that total is a 6-0 loss to No. 1 TCU. However, the Badgers have also been dominated in a few other games that the score didn't really show. Last weekend they lost 3-1 to UW-Milwaukee and 2-0 to Penn State, but were out-shot in those games a combined 34-13.
One reason for the sudden drop-off in play has been the level of competition. Of the four losses and one tie, two of the opponents were ranked, and all five teams had winning records.
Previous seasons have been marked by impressive beginnings only to finish with sub-par results. Last season the Badgers started 7-3-1, only to lose of six of their final nine games. In 1999, UW started 3-1-1 before losing 10 of their next 11 games. In 1997, the Badgers started out 5-4 before losing nine of the final 11 games.
The Big Ten schedule is one of the toughest in the country, and this season is no exception. On Friday, the Badgers play host to No. 6 Indiana, always one of the top teams in the country.
To build on last season's 10-9-1 mark, which was their first winning season in four years, the Badgers will need to finish strong. With seven games remaining before the Big Ten tournament, that turnaround must be started soon.
Schedule changes: The Badgers' game against Iona, which was supposed to take place at home on Sept. 14 but was postponed because of the terrorist attacks, has been cancelled altogether. Wisconsin's game at home against Ohio State, which was postponed on Sept. 30 due to the death of Buckeye Connor Senn, has been moved to Sunday, Nov. 4 at 1 p.m. The game is in between the last regular season game and the start of the Big Ten tournament.
DaPra, Baker continue to produce: In Friday's 3-1 loss to the UW-Milwaukee Panthers, one bright spot was senior Dominic DaPra's Big Ten-leading 11th goal of the season. DaPra is currently seven goals behind the all-time Wisconsin record of 18 goals, set in 1984 by Todd Zoschke. DaPra is also fifth on the all-time Wisconsin goal-scoring list with 26. Goalkeeper Moriba Baker is also moving up the records list. With six more saves, Baker will move into fifth place on the all-time Wisconsin saves list.