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Home Sweet Home: Badgers outlast Broncos in home opener

Game Photo
Western Michigan   Wisconsin 3, Western Michigan 2
McClimon Complex • Madison, Wis. • Attendance: 1,994

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1st 2nd Final
 Western Michigan
0 2 2
1 2 3
WIS 1:22 Tomislav Zadro 
WIS 53:13 Nick Jones 
WIS 62:28 Drew Conner (Tomislav Zadro)
WMU 80:40 Matheau Rogers (Sean Hazen)
WIS 89:08 Matheau Rogers (Sean Hazen)
 Goalkeepers Min GA Sv
WMU Rau (0-3-0) 90:00 3 2
WIS Beyers (1-0-1) 90:00 2 2
 Stats at a Glance WMU WIS
 Shots 10 18
 Shots on Goal 4 5
 Saves 2 2
 Offsides 1 1
 Corner Kicks 5 1
 Yellow Cards 2 1
 Red Cards 0 0
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Sept. 6, 2013

MADISON, Wis. -- After beginning its season on the road, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team returned home to a warm welcome from nearly 2,000 fans during the fifth-annual PAC the MAC on Friday at the McClimon Soccer Complex.

The Badgers made sure to make a good early impression on their faithful, earning a 3-2 win over Western Michigan that was well in hand with nearly 30 minutes left in the match.

 Fast Facts
• Early score from Zadro set the tone for the match
• Badgers outshot Western Michigan, 18-10
• GK Beyers remain undefeated on season (1-0-1)

As the sun set and the stadium lights flickered on, the Badgers came out on fire. Senior Tomislav Zadro made the most of his first few minutes on the field as he bent a set piece around the Bronco’s defensive wall to the far post and passed Bronco goalkeeper Chase Rau.

Zadro’s energy, along with his goal, sparked an offensive performance that would include three goals for the Badgers—a presence the team missed in 2012 as the Toronto, Ontario, native rehabilitated an ACL injury.

Although Wisconsin got out to an early lead, Western Michigan wasn’t easily discouraged. The Broncos challenged the Badgers’ defense for four corner kicks in the first half. The back line remained strong under pressure, though, escaping without a blemish.

Taking a 1-0 lead into the second half, Wisconsin pressured Western Michigan’s defense early on.

Nick Jones gave the Badgers’ student section something to cheer about in the 53rd minute as the freshman connected on an acrobatic side volley kick from 25 yards out to put his team up 2-0.

Wisconsin head coach John Trask emphasized the importance of starting the second half strong when leading at the half.

“To get the second goal means we brought the right mentality in the second half,” Trask explained. “[Western Michigan is] going to come out when they’re down 1-0 and really try to push the game.

“I thought we handled how they stepped up for those few minutes.”

Wisconsin wasted little time in netting their next goal. Just nine minutes after Jones recorded the first goal of his college career, midfielder Drew Conner received a touch from Zadro and weaved his way around Western Michigan defenders, sniping a shot beyond the reach of Rau. 

“We didn’t settle for the second goal,” Trask said. “We found a way to make it 3-0.”

With a comfortable lead in hand, Coach Trask juggled his lineup, giving the Broncos a different look on the field and allowing a few of his non-starters to enjoy the atmosphere.

“I felt it was important on a great night like tonight with so many fans here to get a couple of our seniors on the field.”

Shaken but not defeated by the three-goal deficit, Western Michigan battled back.

The Broncos scored two goals in the final ten minutes, but the Badgers held on to earn their first victory of the 2013 campaign. 

“At moments we looked very good,” Trask added. “That’s got to be sustained over longer periods. It’s a little easier when you’re playing PAC the MAC at your field against a team that’s given up some goals already.

“We did score three quality goals. I don’t want to take anything away from the guys. I think there’s a lot more in this group.”

Wisconsin takes to the pitch again Sunday at 2:30 p.m. CT at the McClimon Soccer Complex as they welcome DePaul for a non-conference matchup.

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