Badgers win on Team Day, unbeaten in Big Ten

first_imgGREGORY DIXON/Herald photoOn a beautiful autumn afternoon Sunday, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team notched another Big Ten victory as it defeated Northwestern 2-0 in front of a slew of local youth soccer teams at the McClimon Soccer Complex.With local elementary, middle and high school players in attendance for Team Day, the Badgers put on a show, scoring two scintillating second half goals to continue their unbeaten streak in the Big Ten.After successfully overcoming a challenging first half without conceding a goal, Wisconsin (6-3-2, 2-0-1 Big Ten) entered the final period with guns blazing and an energized attack, and Northwestern (8-3-0, 1-2-0) was never able to mount a comeback.”I didn’t think the first half was well-played, and I didn’t think we were as sharp or crisp as we could be,” Wisconsin head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “But I thought we responded well at halftime with the way we came out in the second half. We kept the ball better, we were better going forward, our runs were better, our timing was better, our concentration [and] our touches were better, and, as a result, we were able to create a little more around the box, and we got a couple of goals for it.”Wisconsin snatched the lead in the 54th minute when sophomore Andy Miller whipped a cross to senior William Bagayoko at the edge of Northwestern’s box. In a moment of brilliance, Bagayoko received the cross and cleverly flicked the ball with his heel to senior Reid Johnson, who took the cheeky pass and chipped it over a helpless Northwestern goalkeeper.”I saw Reid was running with me, so I just flicked it into the area and he fought for it and put it in the back of the net,” Bagayoko said.Eighteen minutes later, Wisconsin scored the all-important insurance goal when sophomore Victor Diaz picked out fellow Spaniard Pablo Delgado on an overlapping run 30 yards from goal. Delgado made his defender look foolish with a crafty cutback and then slotted the ball past Northwestern’s keeper into the lower left corner of the net. “I felt like I had to score that goal,” Delgado said. “It was good for the team because we became more calm and it was easier to get the win. When I dribbled by my [defender], I just looked at the goalie and I had a space by the near post, so I just hit it.”In addition to the team’s success on offense, Wisconsin has also been playing stellar in the defensive third lately, tallying its second shutout in a row with Sunday’s win. While Rohrman admits his back line has plenty to do with the accomplishment, he extends the success to include both forwards and midfielders as well. “The back four have been solid the whole year and those five guys have done an outstanding job in terms of shutting things down,” Rohrman said. “It’s a credit to them for sure, but I also think that when we get shutouts, it extends even beyond those five — in terms of the midfielders in what they do in getting back, and transition, and getting behind the ball — those are the little things that we talk about that we have to continue to do well, and we’re going to continue to get shutouts if we do those things well.”After losing their first four Big Ten matches last season, the Badgers are determined to get conference revenge and continue their unbeaten Big Ten run as they look ahead to their three remaining Big Ten match-ups against Ohio State, Penn State and Indiana.While Rohrman’s squad is ultimately focused on Wednesday’s match-up with Mid-Con opponent Western Illinois, the team is also excited to continue its quest for Big Ten hardware.”We’ve got all of the confidence in the world right now — especially in Big Ten play,” Johnson said. “We’re all ready for Ohio State next weekend, we just have to take care of Western Illinois first. We’re definitely ready to keep rolling in the Big Ten though, that’s for sure.”last_img read more