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Never too late: Roos' last-second goal a winner

ON WISCONSIN <b>Mark Roos' first career goal also was the game-winner for the Badgers on Sunday</b>
Mark Roos' first career goal also was the game-winner for the Badgers on Sunday

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MADISON, Wis. -- Officially, the assist goes to Austin Spohn.

Like any of the 751 fans who witnessed the fantastic finish of Sunday's game, however, Spohn knows some credit is also due to someone who wont show up in the box score: the ball boy.

A quick reaction on his part gave Spohn time to place a perfect serve for Mark Roos, who headed in the game-winner with three seconds left on the clock and lifted the Wisconsin men's soccer team to a 1-0 win over Western Illinois in the finale of the Middleton Sports and Fitness Invitational.

"I would absolutely give him an assist," said Spohn of the ball boy. "He was about five yards away and threw it right to me, a perfect ball."

The ball boy's delivery was one of several pieces that fell in place for the Badgers in the waning seconds of a physical contest against the Leathernecks. It began when senior Scott Lorenz was fouled with less than 20 seconds to play and the Badgers were awarded a free kick.

The ball boy then acted quickly enough to give Spohn time to set up his serve, which he placed perfectly at the peak of Roos' jump just in front of the goal.

"(Spohn) set me up like none other and all I had to do was get this big head on it," said Roos of his first career score. "I just tried my best to make contact with the ball, and the ball went in.

"I looked at the scoreboard and, wow, it was pretty crazy."

Roos' goal halted UW's scoreless streak to open the season at 199 minutes, 57 seconds. That was long enough for the Badgers (1-0-1).

"It's good to get that for the team because weve been playing so well and we just could not get a goal," Roos said. "It's great to get that off our chest as a team."

The victory also made a first-time winner of UW head coach Todd Yeagley, who was able to share in the win with his father, former Indiana head coach Jerry Yeagley, as well as former UW coach Jim Launder.

"It ended in quite a dramatic fashion," Todd Yeagley said. "We talk about focus for 90 minutes and attention to details, and that was great execution."

As was the case in their scoreless tie with Virginia Tech on Friday, the Badgers couldnt capitalize on multiple opportunities to find the back of the net against WIU. Senior Taylor Waspi narrowly missed getting his head on a well-placed free kick by Pablo Deglado in the 69th minute, and Delgado narrowly missed on a pair of chances himself in the 73rd and 77th minutes.

Unlike in their season-opener, however, the Badgers were able to come up with the big play.

"We have been knocking on the door all day today and all day Friday, so just to get that goal and to get that win was great," senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath said. "We should have gotten one on Friday night and we couldn't put it together, but we played so well.

"What's important is to get that win so that you know the feeling."

Horwath helped anchor a UW defense that recorded its third-consecutive shutout, dating back to last season, and was named the tournament's most valuable defensive player for his work in goal.

"We said from the start that we wanted to be the team that was going to have shutouts," Yeagley said. "I'll take a 1-0 win any day."

Defensively, the Badgers are off to their best start since the 2002 team recorded three-consecutive shutouts to open the season.

Still, it took a breakthrough on the offensive end for the Badgers to find the win column. Wisconsin out-shot the Leathernecks, 17-11, and put a total of seven shots on goal. That included three from Lorenz and a pair from Roos.

"We've definitely had our chances," Roos said. "The first one is always the hardest and I think we won't have any trouble scoring from this point on."

In addition to Horwaths defensive MVP honors, the Badgers placed three players on the Middleton Sports and Fitness Invitational All-Tournament team. Roos, Lorenz and senior midfielder Brandon Miller each earned a spot on the team, as the Badgers collected a second-place finish in the event.

Virginia Tech took the tournament title on the criteria of goals scored, as the Hokies and Badgers were tied in terms of overall record (1-0-1) and the tie-breaker categories of head-to-head competition (a 0-0 tie Friday) and goal differential (+1).

UW-Milwaukee, which lost a 2-1 decision to the Hokies earlier Sunday, finished third, while Western Illinois was fourth.

The Badgers now turn their attention to a long road swing that begins with matches against the University of San Diego and San Diego State next weekend.

Team Notes
The Badgers are unbeaten through two games for the second-consecutive season, as they opened the 2008 campaign with three straight wins ... UW has gone unbeaten in their first two games of a season six times since 2000 ... UW has opened a season with back-to-back shutouts eight times (also 1981, 83, 85, 93, 95, 2001, 02) ... Wisconsin has now gone 27 consecutive games without being awarded a penalty kick ... the Badgers are 5-2-0 all-time against WIU in games played in Madison

Individual Notes
Sophomore forward Mark Roos' game-winning goal was the first score of his UW career ... senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath tallied the 15th shutout of his career, and third-consecutive shutout dating back to last season ... senior forward Scott Lorenz made his 40th-consecutive start for the Badgers, a streak dating back to Aug. 31, 2007 ... Lorenz's three shots on the day also give him 101 for his career ... senior midfielder Eric Conklin played in his 25th-consecutive game for the Badgers ... senior Brandon Miller made the 45th start of his career, the most of any active UW player

Quotes UW Head Coach Todd Yeagley
On his team's play over the opening weekend:
"I really like the way that we have been defending. We have had mistakes on giveaways that we need to take care of, so that's the first focus."

On the Badgers' play on the offensive end:
"I thought our movement and our ability to create that many restarts was good. We have the ability to service the ball. I know that if we have that many opportunities to score, we are going to have some goals."

On goalkeeper Alex Horwath's defensive MVP performance:
"Al is fantastic. Al, I think, is one of the best goalkeepers in the country and he has so much pride in how he organizes the defenders. Having two shutouts to start the year is a great motivator."

Senior Goalkeeper Alex Horwath
On the Badgers' defense:
"I didn't have to do anything. I got to watch 90 minutes of soccer. The defense deserves all of the credit in the world."

On the team's progress so far:
"The coaching staff is all new and we are doing well with playing as a unit. Defensively, we are solid right now. If we can start getting some goals, I think that we can make a run for the (NCAA) tournament this year."

Sophomore Midfielder Austin Spohn
On the final play:
"I knew as soon as the whistle was blown and Scott (Lorenz) was fouled there was about 12 seconds left. I just started yelling at the ball boy trying to get a ball down as quick as I could, I saw Roos in there, and I tried to float it in and see what the big guy could do."

On the advantage Roos has as a 6-foot-2 forward:
"I don't know that his height helps all that much because he is one heck of an athletic guy for being that tall."

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