The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team will take the field Tuesday at McClimon Soccer Complex for their second-to-last game of the season against Western Illinois University. The Badgers (8-3-3, 3-2-2 Big Ten) will face off against the Fighting Leathernecks (6-7-1, 2-2-0 Summit) in the last non-conference game of the regular season before hosting Ohio State University to close the year.
After playing to a draw on Friday night against No. 4 Indiana University, the Badgers lost the chance to end the home season with a perfect home record of 9-0-0. The chance to remain undefeated at home and end the season with a home record of 8-0-1 now becomes the main goal, as wins in the last two games will provide momentum into the conference tournament.
The first opponent standing in the way of the undefeated home record is the Leathernecks of Western Illinois. WIU is coming off a home defeat at the hands of University of Nebraska Omaha, just the second home loss of the season for the home team. The match against Wisconsin will be the first of a three-game road trip, where they have struggled to a 1-5-1 record. The sole win on the road came against Summit League opponent IUPUI in a 2-0 win on Sept. 23.
UW will be the third opponent in six games for the Leatherjacks from Wisconsin. WIU has recently played home games against both Green Bay and Milwaukee, defeating the Phoenix 1-0 on Sept. 28 and losing on Oct. 4 to the Panthers, 2-0. The Badgers played both of those teams as well, defeating each by a score of 3-0.
Western Illinois will be led into Madison by leading point scorer Jacob Beven. Beven, a senior forward from England, leads the team with eight goals and has added two assists for a total of 18 points on the season. The next highest goal scorer on the squad is junior forward Fernando Pacheco with four goals on the year. The Badgers will need to control the duo of Beven and Pacheco as the two account for 12 of the 20 goals scored this season for the Leathernecks and will be crucial in the matchup Tuesday.
Defensively, freshman keeper Tim Henson will anchor the visiting squad. Henson has four shutouts on the season and comes into the game with a .750 save percentage, allowing an average of 1.11 goals per games he has appeared in.
The Badgers will use the game as a chance to get their offense back on track after being held scoreless their last time out. UW was able to muster up 18 shots with five on target against the Hoosiers. They will look to capitalize on their chances and find the back of the net once again.
The game kicks off at 7 p.m. CT and will air on BTN Plus at McClimon Soccer Complex.