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The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

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Rohrman’s squad set to face off with OSU

The Wisconsin men’s soccer team (3-5-0) will look to start off Big Ten play with a bang Sunday at 1 p.m., when they take on the Ohio State Buckeyes in Columbus.

The Badgers enter the game fresh off of two disappointing losses, the first coming against IUPUI last Friday, and the latter two days ago at Northern Illinois. Despite UW’s play of late, a win in the opening match of Big Ten play would go a long way toward rectifying what has been an inconsistent first month of the season.

“I think [winning the Big Ten opener] is huge for us, especially where we are, and getting a little bit of momentum and confidence going into the month of October,” head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “I think it’s, if we can go down there and get a win, it would really bode well for us, as far as getting into the thick of things through October.”

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Ohio State (3-4-1) is coming off of a weekend of mixed results after defeating Bowling Green 7-4 last Friday night before losing 2-1 at Kentucky. In fact, the Buckeyes have shown the same kind of inconsistency that has plagued the Badgers in 2004.

“In a lot of ways, I think they’re a team that’s capable of playing very good soccer and beating some top teams, just as I think we are,” Rohrman said. “So, yeah I think there’s a lot of similarities between the two right now.”

Just as Wisconsin has flashed their potential against top squads like Tulsa and Creighton this season, Ohio State has shown a similar ability on the pitch against some of the nation’s elite teams. On the first weekend of the season, the Buckeyes lost 2-0 to Wake Forest and 2-1 to North Carolina, both of whom were ranked in the NSCAA/Adidas top ten at the time. Ohio state’s best performance may have come the following weekend at the Mayor’s Cup Tournament in Oneonta, New York, when they tied No. 18-ranked Hartwick College 1-1.

“Well, they’re going to be a hard-working, physical team,” Rohrman said. “They can play, they’ve got some very talented kids. They’re going to be dangerous going forward, so we just have to be, for sure we have to be alert and awake and pay attention to some of the defensive stuff, and that’s going to be where we’re going to be emphasizing things for Sunday.”

The Buckeyes possess a very balanced offense, with six players contributing five points or more on the season. Senior forward Justin Cook is the unquestioned star of the team, and has been since his freshman year in 2000. Cook’s play earned him the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award in his debut season, and was a huge part in Ohio State’s Big Ten championship. A knee injury forced the Winter Springs, Fla., native to miss all of 2003, but with 10 points in 2004, Cook appears to be recovered.

“Last year they didn’t have Cook and they got him back this year,” Rohrman said. “They’ve got a transfer (Kyle Veris) up top who’s doing quite well for them as well. And they’re going to be athletic, they’re going to be mobile, they’re going to be skillful, they’re going to be a very good attacking team. We just have to be sure that we’re up for the challenge and take care of things on our end.”

Though Wisconsin’s Big Ten campaign is interspersed with four non-conference fixtures, Sunday will essentially begin a new season. If the Badgers are to have success, their luck will have to change for the better.

” … It’s a long two months before you get to the end of it,” Rohrman said. “I think it’s a matter of staying healthy and trying to play well, especially through the month of October and get a few breaks along the way. Every team that finished first or second gets a break here and there, so certainly we could use one this weekend.”

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