Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Seniority rules for Badgers

Not many would deem last year's UW men's soccer season a success. The team finished with an overall record of 8-11 and a 2-4 record against Big Ten opponents. They ended up tied for fifth in the conference and lost to Indiana in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.

"The experience wasn't there sometimes," sophomore forward Victor Diaz said of last year's team.

This year's squad is optimistic, however, and hopes that it can continue the success already earned in the preseason.


"We're just looking to keep the flow going of what we've built up," senior captain Aaron Hohlbein said. "We're looking good as a team; we're coming together nicely."

UW head coach Jeff Rohrman believes that the success of this year's team lies on the shoulders of its strong senior class.

"Certainly, having eight seniors and their leadership and experience is going to play a big part of how we close games out and how we win games late," Rohrman said.

While experience may have been lacking in the 2005 team, last year's shortcoming is this season's strength. The Badgers will see their entire starting roster return from last season.

"We've got a very deep team this year," Rohrman added. "We didn't lose any starters from last year. We're very solid and very good in a lot of places."

No single player stands out to Rohrman as the team's go-to guy, but he acknowledges the impact many of his players will have.

"Through the middle, we've got (freshman) Pablo Delgado, (sophomore) Kenny Dix, (junior) Erik Ortega and (junior) B.J. Goodman — all very good players," Rohrman said. "Up top, Victor Diaz [is] able to score goals, and Reid Johnson (Sr.) has had a very good preseason. I think we're looking forward to some good things out of Reid this year too."

The coach also emphasized the leadership ability of Hohlbein.

"He's the glue that keeps us together," Rohrman said. "He brings a peace of mind, and a sense of composure and confidence within the team."

Hohlbein, who will serve his second year as team captain, has already been named to the preseason third-team All-American team by College Soccer News. Last year, he was named to the all-Big Ten first team. The Badgers' captain polished his skills this summer by playing for a men's amateur semi-pro team in Madison, the Princeton 56ers.

Senior Jake Settle will return between the pipes as the team's goalkeeper.

"Jake demonstrated last year that he's capable of playing in some great matches and keeping us in some great matches," Rohrman said.

Some of the freshmen on the team have already showed signs of promise during the preseason as well. Delgado — a forward/midfielder from Madrid, Spain — and forward red-shirt freshman Eric Conklin each had significant contributions in the team's first two exhibition games, with both players scoring a pair of goals each.

Two other first-year players have already received preseason accolades, as goalkeeper Ryan Vint, an All-American from Plymouth, Minn., and midfielder Taylor Waspi from Deer Park, Ill., were named to College Soccer News' Top-100 Freshman list.

"[The freshman] are giving us added depth and added strength in a number of different areas," Rohrman said. "Certainly, they can all play at this level and do some good things."

One thing the team will be focusing on heavily this year is not overlooking any of their opponents, no matter who it is they're facing.

"That's one of the things we've had problems with in the years before," Hohlbein said. "We kind of overlooked some teams. Every team on our schedule is going to be tough."

After using the preseason to fix some mistakes made last year, the Badgers are ready to take to the field.

"We have to do what we know and we have to be tough on the field," Diaz said. "We've been playing more as a team, playing tougher, and we have more enthusiasm."

Expect the Badgers to take the season one game at a time and not get ahead of themselves as they have done in the past. After all, as Diaz puts it, "Every game counts."

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