Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Men’s Soccer: Wisconsin stages comeback win over Michigan, draws to Drake

Badgers secure first Big Ten win before facing highly ranked Maryland
Osase Noma-Owens

The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team (4-5-2, 1-3 Big Ten) ended a busy week with four points after staging a comeback win Friday against Michigan and tying Drake on Monday. 

Wisconsin, which came into Friday’s match on a four-game scoring drought, took down the Wolverines (3-6-3, 1-3-1 Big Ten) for its first Big Ten win of the season in front of 837 fans at the McClimon Soccer Complex in Madison. 

The Badgers entered the match firing off shots at Michigan goalkeeper Hayden Evans, who made three consecutive saves in a three-minute span in the first half. Wisconsin had 14 shots to Michigan’s three throughout the match. 


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Despite Wisconsin’s back line holding Michigan to zero shots in the first half, the Wolverines began testing goalkeeper Carter Abbott early in the second half. Freshman Michigan defender Nolan Miller — an academy product of Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew — made the Badgers pay when he scored a header off of a corner kick in the 61st minute. 

The Badgers returned the favor shortly after with a 72nd-minute goal from junior forward Jack Finnegan, whose one-touch shot over the keeper from inside the 18-yard box equalized the score. Finnegan finished the game with six shots, five shots on goal and one goal. 

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Wisconsin struck again in the 73rd minute when junior midfielder Tim Bielic made a run into the center of the field and played a through ball to a streaking Max Keenan. Keenan then struck the ball into the bottom left corner of the net. 

Keenan leads the team in goals this season with five. A junior transfer and Vicksburg, Michigan native, he was also named on Oct. 10 to the Men’s National Team of the Week, a weekly list of top college soccer players across the U.S. created by College Soccer News. 

The Badgers held onto a 2-1 lead for the remaining 15 minutes and gave up no further Michigan shot opportunities. 

Tim Bielic told The Badger Herald before the Friday night game that the team’s morale was still high primarily because of its strong defensive performances this season. He added that the players were focused on using the Michigan match to improve their scoring success. 

“It was a big win for us and gave us three points that we needed,” Badgers head coach Neil Jones said in a game recap. “Credit to our guys for fighting back and getting that equalizer along with the winner.”

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Wisconsin then played Iowa-based Drake University at home Monday for its last non-conference match of the season. That game was scoreless until the 68th minute, when Tim Bielic recorded his second assist in consecutive games with a pass to Jack Finnegan. Finnegan was waiting near the six yard box and beat a defender before scoring the ball. 

But the Badgers failed to score a second safety goal and crumbled in the 87th minute when senior Drake midfielder and London, England native Louis Yuill scored. Drake outshot Wisconsin 13 to 12 in the match. 

These two weekend results leave Wisconsin’s season as a question mark heading into its final four Big Ten matches. While the Badgers seemed to return to scoring ways with two comeback goals on Friday, the Michigan men’s soccer team — despite performing well in the Big Ten tournament in the past five years — only had a 1-2-1 Big Ten record going into the game.

Wisconsin was able to move past Northwestern to eighth in the Big Ten standings with their win, which puts it in qualifying territory for the Big Ten tournament that starts on Nov. 4. But while holding onto a lead against Drake for most of the 90 minutes on Monday, the Badgers struggled to put away a second goal and even broke down defensively late in the match.

The ultimate test for the Wisconsin team that has given mixed signals this season will be its match against Maryland on the road Friday. The Terrapins (7-1-3, 3-0-2 Big Ten) lead the Big Ten men’s soccer standings and have won the NCAA tournament four times, including in 2018, according to NCAA records.

The game will be streamed on ESPN and available on cable at ESPNU. Kickoff is scheduled for 4:00 p.m.

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