The first true road test for the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team (2-4-0) ended in disappointment, a shutout defeat at the hands of the Butler Bulldogs (3-1-0) by a score of 1–0.
Following the Badgers’ 2–1 victory over Lehigh University, the stage was set for a classic in this year’s Sellick Bowl. Unfortunately, the trip to Indianapolis resulted in a night complete with merely four shots on goal — a stat the Bulldogs capitalized upon in Thursday’s matchup.
Possession was relatively balanced throughout the first 45 minutes, but the opening half highlighted some of the Badgers’ attacking weaknesses. The lack of forward production meant the game hung in the balance, and immediately after the start of the second half, Butler struck the back of the net for the game-deciding goal.
The sweltering 90-degree contest did feature the Badger goalie, Dean Cowdroy, who recorded two saves on the night, keeping the team afloat throughout the day.
Looking to rebound after the road defeat, the Badgers returned to the McClimon Complex to take on the Portland Pilots (3-2-1) Sunday. After a hot start to their season, the Badgers managed to slow the aggressive Pilots, as their eight shots missed the mark in the first period.
Despite the relentless Pilots’ attack, Cowdroy recorded a brilliant save at the beginning of the second frame, keeping Portland out of the scoring column on their ninth shot.
But the inexperience of the Badgers’ front line meant they could only muster one shot on goal, and in the end the defense relented, conceding in the 55th minute what would be the game’s only goal.
The Lander College transfer Cowdroy has certainly aided the defensive strength of the Badger unit, posting impressive saves and keeping the Badgers close throughout the first six games. Now it is critical to acclimatize the forwards, increase team chemistry in the attacking half, and begin to offer pressure toward opposing defenses.
Of the Badgers’ four losses thus far, all have come without a goal.
With six matches in the book, the Badgers will look to pull off the upset against reigning Big Ten champs Indiana, as they open conference play Sept. 20 in Bloomington, Indiana.