The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team (2–4–1, 0–1–0 Big Ten) fell in a tight 3–1 contest versus No. 2 Indiana (6–1–0, 1–0–0 Big Ten) Sunday.
With the sun beating down on the McClimon Complex, the crowd was building well for the second fixture of the Pac the Mac doubleheader. And with a Dani Rhodes double-overtime winner for the Wisconsin Women’s team only 30 minutes prior, you could feel a sense of optimism that it would be Wisconsin’s day.
But it would be by no means an easy task for the Badgers as they welcomed the No. 2 Hoosiers to town for their Big Ten opener.
The optimism among the hometown spectators was dented early as it took less than four minutes for Indiana midfielder Cory Thomas to curve a shot around Wisconsin Keeper Dean Cowdroy to open the scoring.
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But the Badgers didn’t lie down after suffering the early setback. After surviving a further onslaught from the Indiana attack which forced Cowdroy to make some good saves, they found themselves down at the attacking end. Badger midfielder Mitch Guitar sliced into the box but had his shot denied by an excellent save from Hoosiers goalkeeper Trey Muse. It remained 1–0 for the Hoosiers.
Despite Wisconsin fighting hard, they faced an uphill battle in the second half after conceding a goal on the brink of half-time that Wisconsin Head Coach John Trask would later describe as a “backbreaker.”
A free kick from dangerous territory saw the ball lobbed into the Wisconsin box and after a goal-line scramble, Indiana’s Andrew Gutman bundled it in from close range to give the Hoosiers a 2–0 advantage at the break.
The second half was more profitable for the Badgers as Patrick Yim breathed life into the side at the 70-minute mark when he scored his maiden goal for the Badgers to bring the score to 2–1.
But only seven minutes later, Gutman would restore Indiana’s two-goal lead with his second goal of the afternoon. That would turn out to be the killer blow as the score remained 3–1 in favor of the visitors.
In a post-match interview with UW athletics, Trask displayed his displeasure at conceding the third goal, in particular, the fashion of which it was conceded.
“We cut the lead to 2–1 and then gave up, can’t say it any other way, it’s a soft third goal,” Trask said. “You can’t give up that goal.”
A high scoring night from Gutman should not have been shocking for Wisconsin though. The performance moved the Indiana senior to first in the Big Ten in goals.
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But Trask knew the match was always going to be tough to beat for the Badgers and the coach spoke highly of the Indiana after the game.
“They’re the second best team in the country for a reason,” Trask said.
The Badgers don’t have long to mull over the defeat as their Big Ten campaign continues Friday in Maryland. They will be up against University of Maryland (2–2–2, 1–0–0 Big Ten) at College Park.