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: Badgers nose out Ohio State in last regular season match

Wisconsin faces Rutgers away Friday in first round of Big Ten tournament
Will Romano
Badgers forward Mitchell Dryden attacks the ball against Ohio State.

The University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team (6-6-3, 3-4-1 Big Ten) defeated the Ohio State Buckeyes (9-2-5, 4-2-2 Big Ten) 3-2 at home Sunday afternoon in its final regular-season match before the Big Ten tournament.

Ohio State was nationally ranked No. 13 and second in the Big Ten going into the match. Wisconsin had climbed its way out of last place in the Big Ten earlier this season to sixth and clinched a spot in the Big Ten tournament with its win over Northwestern last Sunday.

The game was also senior day at the McClimon Soccer Complex in Madison. Eight seniors, including Ignasi Marques, Iñaki Iribarren, Tim Bielic, Matt Chandler, Michael Wampler, Carter Abbott, Aron Elí Sævarsson and Dan Iscra, were honored before the starting whistle.


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“We really preached to the younger players that you have to dig in today and play for the seniors,” Badgers head coach Neil Jones said in a UW game recap. “I really felt that everyone did, and I am so proud of this group.”

The scoring action started in the 19th minute with a through ball from Badgers midfielder Tim Bielic that split two defenders and ended up at the feet of Max Keenan, who scored with a shot to the top-right corner of the goal. Keenan is Wisconsin’s leading goal scorer this season with seven goals, according to UW statistics.

Badgers defender Aron Elí Sævarsson doubled Wisconsin’s lead in the 35th minute by using his height to head a crossed ball from Ryan Keefe at the Ohio State keeper before scoring on the rebound.

The Badgers continued to press the Buckeyes even after the second goal. But the Buckeyes exploited the pressure by playing through balls to striker Devyn Etling and earning multiple shots on goal before the halftime whistle.

Buckeyes midfielder Laurence Wootton nearly scored with a shot from the 18-yard box with five seconds remaining in the first half. Badgers goalkeeper Carter Abbott saved the shot and deflected it off of the crossbar. Abbott had four saves throughout the match, but the Buckeyes outshot the Badgers 13-9.

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The second half started with chaos for the Badgers. Tim Bielic — who spent most of his freshman and sophomore years off the pitch with injuries before returning in 2021 — left the game with a serious leg injury in the 50th minute after going in for a tackle.

Ohio State’s Devyn Etling then scored with a header in the 56th minute off a cross from Xavier Green. Etling is a redshirt senior who plays for Major League Soccer side Columbus Crew’s academy, according to the Ohio State Buckeyes website.

Wisconsin’s Jack Finnegan returned the favor in the 64th minute with a solo goal he scored when cutting across the 18-yard box and shooting into the bottom-left corner of the goal.

But the back-and-forth game rhythm continued. The Buckeyes made the score 3-2 with a second goal from Etling, who muscled his way into receiving a long ball from Laurence Wootton and slipped the ball to the right side of Carter Abbott.

That goal evoked calls from the Badgers for a foul and forced the referee to talk with Badgers head coach Neil Jones. The game grew tense from that point onward with rough play from both sides.

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“Don’t make me make a decision you wouldn’t like,” said the primary referee after a scuffle between Buckeyes striker Devyn Etling and Badgers defender Matt Chandler.

Neil Jones called for the Badgers to hold onto the ball in the remaining time to avoid a last-minute Buckeyes goal, which has been a problem for Wisconsin throughout this season.

The Badgers secured the win after a game-saving save from Carter Abbott in the 85th minute.

The team will now face Rutgers on the road Friday in Piscataway, New Jersey, for the first round of the Big Ten tournament. Rutgers is the No. 2 seed in the tournament, while Wisconsin is No. 7. The two teams played in Madison Sept. 23, when a 10-man Wisconsin team lost 0-2 and struggled to find scoring chances.

The match will be broadcasted on B1G+ and the kickoff time has not been determined yet.

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