After overcoming a 2–0 deficit on their way to a resounding 6–3 win over Rutgers in the Big Ten Quarterfinals, the No. 2 seed University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team (10-5-2, 6-2 Big Ten) will now head to Grand Park in Indiana for a semi-final matchup with No. 3 seed Michigan (11-4-2, 4-2-2 Big Ten) Friday.
Both teams enter the match following convincing quarterfinal victories, as the Michigan Wolverines booked their semi-final spot by the way of a 3–1 victory over the No. 6 seed Penn State.
The last time the teams met, a mere three weeks ago, the game ended in dramatic fashion as Badger freshman Noah Melick found the back of the net with five minutes to play in the second overtime period to give Wisconsin a 1–0 victory.
Melick, who has been dubbed the “Golden Boy” due to his tendency for late-game heroics, will once again be the one to watch out for on the attacking end for Wisconsin.
After scoring his first career goal in the Badgers regular season matchup with Rutgers, Melick has gone on to score six goals in six games, including two overtime game-winners and a pair of goals in last weeks’ quarterfinal against Rutgers.
While the offense often garners a lot of the attention, Wisconsin’s defense has been just as important in their late-season push that has seen them go 8-1-1 their last ten games.
The defense boasts All-Big Ten Second Team honoree Robin Olofsson, All-Big Ten Freshman Team defender Zach Klancnik and Goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy, who has seven shutouts on the season and has been twice named Big Ten player of the week.
The Wolverines aren’t short of standout players themselves, including Big Ten offensive player of the year and All-Big Ten First Team honoree forward Jack Hallahan. He’s registered an impressive eight goals and eight assists through 17 outings this season.
Hallahan is joined in the All-Big Ten First Team by teammate Robbie Mertz, while forward Umar Farouk Osman and defender Marcello Borges received All-Big Ten Second Team honors.
Playing at Grand Park in Westfield, Indiana will bring fond memories for Wisconsin as they return to the scene of their 2017 Big Ten Tournament victory, having claimed last season’s Big Ten Championship with a 4–2 win on penalties kicks over Indiana.
No. 1 seed Indiana Hoosiers face No. 5 Maryland Terrapins in the other Big Ten semifinal Friday at 12 p.m.
The Wisconsin v. Michigan match will follow at 2:30 p.m. and can be found on the Big Ten Network.