The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team defeated No. 7 Indiana University in the Big Ten Tournament Friday but fell to No. 1 Maryland University in the finals Sunday.
The Badgers and Hoosiers battled through regulation and two overtime periods to a 1-1 tie. Then to finish the game, the Badgers netted four penalty kicks to edge the Hoosiers’ three, completing the upset.
The first half was much of the Badgers holding on against the Hoosiers attack. With a strong wind against its back, Indiana ended the half with a 9-2 advantage in shots taken over Wisconsin. But the Badger defense held just enough to keep the score even going into the second half.
The Badgers’ first score came 10 minutes into the second half when junior midfielder Christopher Mueller got a pass from forward Tom Barlow in the box and crushed it into the back of the net.
The Badgers held the lead for 20 minutes, until Indiana forward Rashad Hyacenth scored an equalizer to even the conference semifinal at one.
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The first overtime came and went, and the second did the same, each without a score by either team. This game would have to be decided by penalty kicks.
The Badgers and Hoosiers kept pace with each other for the first three shots until Indiana missed, leaving the door open for the Badgers to take the edge. The opportunity couldn’t have come at a more perfect time as Wisconsin first-team, All-Big Ten selection Mueller stepped up to take the shot.
Mueller lined up the shot and blasted it past Indiana’s goalkeeper to send the Badgers to the Big Ten championship game.
In that game, however, Wisconsin fought hard but came up just shy of their first conference championship since 1995. Maryland took home their third straight league title in a 2-1 victory Sunday afternoon.
The Badgers started off slowly in the match, which the Terrapins took advantage of with a quick strike. Less than two minutes into the game, Maryland sophomore DJ Reeves scored his third goal of the season from six yards out to take the early 1-0 lead.
Showing some fight and resilience, Wisconsin was able to tie the game at one a piece less than 10 minutes later with a goal of their own. Barlow’s strike came from 12 yards, off the assist by Mueller. The goal was Barlow’s fifth of the year while Mueller recorded his 11th assist for the season on the play.
As the first half was coming close to an end, Maryland scored once again to finish the scoring of the day. Sophomore Sebastian Elney struck his third goal of the year, a header off of fellow sophomore Jorge Calix’s corner kick to create the final margin.
The Badgers found ways to create chances in the second half but were unable to connect on any of them. Five of Wisconsin’s 11 shots of the night came in the second half, forcing Maryland keeper Cody Niedermeier to make four saves. Wisconsin was also awarded two corner kicks in the second half but was unable to create shots off of either opportunity.
Defensively, the Badgers were able to accomplish what they wanted to by holding Maryland sophomores Gordon Wild and Amar Sejdic pointless in the match. Wild led the Big Ten on the season with 37 points and Sejdic is third with 23. Instead, the supporting players for the Terrapins stepped up in the game to lead their team to a victory, a testament as to why the team finishes the season ranked first in the NSCAA Coach’s Poll.
The season is now over for the University of Wisconsin, as the 48-team field for the NCAA tournament was announced without the Badger’s name being called. While missing the tournament is a disappointing result, the final record for the team will stand at an impressive 11-4-4 and will mark the first winning the season for the team since the 2014 campaign.
The Badgers now look to continue their success next season when they return 25 of their 28 players and 10 out of the 11 starters.