The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team looks to bounce back following a disappointing performance at the Lakeside Classic in Evanston last week. In their tournament opener against Bowling Green State University, the Badgers struggled to find the back of the net, losing a tightly-contested 1–0 match.
Following a regrettable opening-round loss, the Badgers defeated Lehigh University 2-1 in the second game of the Lakeside Classic. Wisconsin relied on an offensive underclassman barrage, as freshman Iñaki Irribarren and sophomore Bobby Harris both scored.
This week Wisconsin faces a critical non-conference test, first traveling to Indianapolis to face the feisty Butler Bulldogs. The Bulldogs (2-1-0) look to rebound at home following a hard-fought road defeat at the hands of Marshall (2-0-1). It would be a mistake for the Badgers to overlook the Bulldogs as Butler currently rides a two-game home winning streak.
A key for a Badger victory will be containing Butler’s senior sensation, Brandon Guhl. The former All-Big East First Team selection and Co-Offensive Player of the Year has been on a tear to start his senior campaign, scoring in all three games to this point.
After Thursday’s game, the Badgers return to Madison for a Sunday showdown against Portland. The Pilots come in red-hot, shutting out their opponents in both of their past two games and scoring a whopping nine goals overall.
Luckily, the Badgers counter Portland’s offensive attack with experience. Seniors Elan Koenig and 2018 All-Big Ten second team member Robin Olofsson will play critical roles in slowing down the Pilots.
Furthermore, senior goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy will add an additional security blanket on the back-end. After transferring from Lander University, Cowdroy filled in nicely last year, posting a 10-6-2 record in 18 matches.
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On the offensive end, senior midfielder Noah Leibold will be a major factor this week for the Badgers. Over the past three years, Leibold has been a staple of the Badger offensive attack, starting 63 consecutive matches dating back to his freshman season. Leibold is already off to a hot start in 2019, leading the team with four shots.
A sweep is critical this week for the Badgers as the following week the team travels to Bloomington to face defending Big Ten champion, Indiana.