The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team finished their 2021 season with a record of two wins, seven losses and one tie. The season concluded April 4 with a 3-2 victory over the Michigan Wolverines. In that game, the Badgers finished the season strong by recording season highs in points (9), goals (3), assists (3), shots on goal (8) and corner kicks (6).
This season, junior forward Andrew Akindele led the Badgers with three goals in 10 games. Akindele scored one goal in both games against Northwestern and added his third against Michigan State.
The Badgers’ schedule was evenly split between home and road games, with five of each. This season, they played Indiana and Northwestern twice each, comprising nearly half of their schedule, and faced Rutgers, Maryland, Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan once each.
All season, the Badgers struggled to defend, with the responsibility falling primarily on defenders Ben Leas, Ethan Chung, Moritz Kappelsberger, Zach Klancnik, Dylan McCrary, Austin Holtebeck, Eliot Popkewitz and Justin Bobb.
Wisconsin surrendered four goals in two separate games against Indiana and Michigan State and gave up five goals to Northwestern.
To start the season, the Badgers fell to preseason conference favorite Indiana 3-0 in Bloomington. The spring schedule was a change from the typical fall season for men’s soccer. The Badgers played 10 games across six weeks from Feb. 19 to April 4.
Their victories came against Ohio State (1-0) and in the aforementioned Michigan game. Their seven losses came to Indiana (twice, once 3-0 and once 4-0), Maryland (1-0), Michigan State (4-1), Northwestern (5-2), Penn State (1-0) and Rutgers (1-0). The Badgers also tied Northwestern 1-1 on March 15 in Evanston.
March 23, goalkeeper Carter Abbott earned a nod for Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week by recording five saves in a 1-0 victory over Penn State.
As far as next season, six seniors will be back for Head Coach John Trask.
German natives Kappelsberger and forward/midfielder Henri Tophoven return alongside leading scorer Akindele, who hails from Chicago. Klancnik, forward Noah Melick and goalkeeper Ben Krongard also return to bolster the Badgers’ chances for Big Ten contention next season.
Several teams will be rejuvenated in their quest to contend for the Big Ten title next season, so the Badgers must be at the top of their game if they hope to recover and bounce back from a rough spring season.