The No. 2 seed University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team (10-5-2, 6-2 Big Ten) hosted the No. 7 seed Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-13-1, 2-6 Big Ten) in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament Nov. 5. Despite the wet conditions and going down two goals in the first 14 minutes, the Badgers came back to thrash the Scarlet Knights 6–3 in a nine goal thriller.
In a post-match interview with UW Athletics, Head Coach John Trask believed the weather heavily influenced the game.
“Obviously the weather played a huge part in this match,” Trask said. “Compliments to Rutgers. They scored three goals with the wind at their backs.”
The Badgers went down early in the 11th minute, when Brandon Golden headed in the opener. The Scarlet Knights went on to double their lead three minutes later through Miles Hackett before adding a third by the Big Ten’s leading goal scorer Jordan Hall. The 38th minute score was Hall’s 14th on the season.
The Badgers were able to get two goals in that timespan — a 31st minute goal from junior Noah Leibold and another from sophomore Patrick Yim right before halftime in the 44th minute to cut the score to 3–2 at the break.
“I thought we did a very good job fighting back in the match to make it 3-2 at halftime,” Trask said. “That was a massive score.”
From the start of the second half, the Badgers were able to take full control of the game. Five minutes into the second half, the Badgers equalized when senior captain Isaac Schlenker beat Rafael Pereira at his near post. The Badgers took the lead thanks to a brace from freshman Noah Melick, before sophomore Alex Alfaro tucked in the sixth and final goal in the 83rd minute.
“We got a couple set-piece goals I was proud of,” Trask said. “[Melick] comes through again. I was very pleased with our performance.”
The win moves the Badgers into the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament, where they will face No. 3 seed Michigan (11-4-2, 4-2-2 Big Ten) in Westfield, Indiana Friday. Wisconsin defeated the Wolverines the last time they matched up in a double overtime thriller Oct. 19. The game kicks off at 2:30 p.m. and can be watched on the Big Ten Network.
“Now we move on to Indianapolis, where we’ve had some success in the past,” Trask said. “We’ll take it from there.”