The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team completed the season undefeated at home Sunday with a 2-1 win over Ohio State University.
Apart from the undefeated home record, the win also brought the Badgers to a 10-win regular season, marking the first time UW has accomplished either of these since the 2013 season. The 10-win finish is double the team’s total from last season.
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Sunday’s game against the Buckeyes was also Wisconsin’s Senior Day, and it was a celebration to remember after the Badgers sent off three seniors with a win. Wisconsin fans and teammates celebrated the final regular season performances by senior goalkeeper Casey Beyers, defender Matej Radonic and midfielder Brian Hail.
The Badgers have built their offense around a team effort all season, with multiple players scoring goals and spreading the offensive attack across the roster. This was no different on Sunday. Early in the game, UW junior midfielder Enda O’Neill scored his first career goal off of an assist from junior forward Tom Barlow. In the midst of the action, Barlow managed to force the ball free from OSU goalkeeper Parker Siegfried’s grip before dishing it out to O’Neill for the score.
The Badgers netted their second goal only minutes before the halftime whistle blew, when sophomore Isaac Schlenker sent a hard shot into the back post off of an assist from junior forward Chris Mueller. As the first half ended, the Badgers walked into halftime with a commanding 2-0 lead.
The Buckeyes hit the field for the second half playing as a much improved team with increased aggressiveness and speed. The Badgers were ready for the challenge though, and elevated their own play to match this tone as the two sides went back and forth until the Buckeyes got on the board. In the 85th minute, Ohio State senior forward Yaw Amankwa sent a strike past UW starting goalkeeper Phillip Schilling to cut the Badgers’ lead in half. Despite the late surge by the Buckeyes, Wisconsin battled to a 2-1 victory in the final minutes.
This has been quite the season for the Badgers. They were projected to finish seventh in the Big Ten according to the Big Ten Men’s Soccer Coaches Preseason Poll, but instead finished third after Sunday’s result. UW has also performed well against the toughest talent in the conference with a tie to second-place Indiana University and an overtime loss to University of Maryland on the road.
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Wisconsin secured the No. 3 seed in the Big Ten tournament as the Badgers host a rematch of Sunday in a battle with the No. 6 seed Buckeyes. Kickoff is slated for next Monday, Nov. 6 at noon in Madison’s McClimon Complex.
With a tough defense and a dynamic offense that can strike from anywhere on the field, the Badgers could be a dangerous team in next week’s conference tournament.