The Badgers men’s and women’s soccer teams both had unfortunate ends to their seasons, in which the men’s team failed to earn a spot in the NCAA tournament after being defeated by Big Ten rival Michigan.
The women’s team made the NCAA tournament but lost a heartbreaking game to Stanford.
Let’s dive into the 2019-2020 Wisconsin soccer campaign, beginning with the men’s team.
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Entering the 2018-2019 season, the men’s soccer team seemed to be focused on rebuilding, but they exceeded expectations by all means. These expectations should increase for this upcoming season.
Despite not being selected to participate in the NCAA Tournament, the men accomplished many of the goals they set out to achieve.
This talented young group won four of their final six games of the season, finishing with a 10-6-2 record, including a 6-2 record in Big Ten match-ups.
With the second seed in the Big Ten tournament, the Badgers participated in their third consecutive Big Ten semifinals. They also finished with six Big Ten wins — the most in school history.
The University of Wisconsin said its farewell to seniors David Fiflis, Morten Lamps and captain Isaac Schlenker, but will be bringing back most of its depth, including 2018 leading point scorers Noah Melick and Andrew Akindele, All-Big Ten second team member Mitch Guitar, starting goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy and many more.
The team will feature ten new players next season. This talented recruiting class will be paired with the bulk of last year’s roster, creating a surplus of skill and depth for the men.
Head coach John Trask described his level of excitement for this incoming class.
“This 10-member class has addressed needs and will continue to add depth and quality to our existing team,” Trask said. “The combination of high-level soccer pedigrees and, just as important, an academic background, will help them adjust and ultimately reach their potential in a highly competitive environment here at Wisconsin.”
McClimon Soccer Complex should be buzzing next season as the men’s soccer team has a thrilling schedule in front of them, featuring home games against NCAA semifinalist Michigan State and National Champion Maryland Oct. 6 and Sept. 27, respectively.
The Big Ten tournament quarterfinals will be on Nov. 10 followed by the semifinals and finals, which will be Nov. 15 and Nov. 17, respectively.
The Badgers open the season Friday, Aug. 30 at home against UC Davis at McClimon Soccer Complex. Kickoff is at 7 p.m. and can be followed live on Twitter @BadgerMSoccer.
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Finishing with a record of 14-4-4, the women’s team made the NCAA Tournament, but came up short against a talented Stanford squad.
Returning for the women include first-team All-American midfielder Victoria Pickett, leading point scorers Dani Rhodes, Cameron Murtha and Lauren Rice, along with starting goalkeeper Jordyn Bloomer, who will be coming back for her senior campaign.
Paula Wilkins will enter her 13th season as head coach for the Badgers.
Last season’s Sweet 16 appearance in the Tournament was just the second appearance in program history and the Badgers’ seventh time making the Tournament under Wilkins as head coach.
Wilkins commended her squad for their hard work this season.
“It just showed these players and this team what it can do,” Wilkins said. “I’m obviously very disappointed about it for the seniors and everything they’ve done for us. We just need to take a deep breath and look back on this season and not let the sting of the game hurt us so badly.”
This feeling should provide the team with plenty of motivation for the upcoming season.
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The women will be playing in front of Badgers fans for the first time Thursday, Aug. 29 at 7 p.m. against Marquette. Last season, the Badgers defeated the Golden Eagles by a score of 2–0.
The Big Ten Tournament begins Nov. 3 and the NCAA Tournament commences Friday, Nov. 15.
The women’s team will begin their season in Orlando, Florida on the road against the University of Central Florida Thursday, Aug. 22 at 5 p.m. Kickoff is at 5 p.m. and can be followed live on Twitter @BadgerWSoccer.