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Badgers battle to draw with No. 9 UC Santa Barbara

ON WISCONSIN <b>Alex Horwath made a career-high eight saves to preserve the win for UW</b>
Alex Horwath made a career-high eight saves to preserve the win for UW

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MADISON, Wis. -- Brandon Miller didn't end up with the game-winner for the second-consecutive game, but his goal in the 82nd minute helped the Wisconsin men's soccer team finish off an unbeaten weekend in a 1-1 draw with No. 9 UC Santa Barbara on Sunday.

The Badgers (2-2-2) benefited from Miller's second goal in as many games, as well as a season-high eight saves from senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath, to earn the result on the final day of the Milwaukee Panther Invitational at Engelmann Field.

"I thought the guys really played their hearts out today," head coach Todd Yeagley said. "That's we asked of them, and we were only a few minutes away from turning a good result into a great result.

"I was pleased with the attention to detail and the focus we had, and we were able to put ourselves in a position to get a good result."

Wisconsin answered the pair of losses it suffered last weekend by going 1-0-1 this week and allowing just two goals in a pair of games. The Badgers also made sure the Gauchos (5-1-1) failed to win for just the second time in seven matches this season.

However, the result gave UCSB the Panther Invitational title over the runner-up Badgers on the criteria of goal differential. The Gauchos downed host UW-Milwaukee on Friday, 2-0, while the Badgers took down Oakland in a 1-0 decision.

"Oakland's a difficult opponent and Santa Barbara is as talented as they come, so to walk away with what we did this weekend, I'm just really proud of how the team fought through things," Yeagley said. "We were disappointed we didn't get the win today, but I'm proud of the team."

Miller looked as though he would have the game-winning score for the second time in as many matches when he found the net in the 82nd minute and put the Badgers up, 1-0.

Playing close to the goal on a corner kick, Miller converted the rebound of a header attempt by Taylor Waspi that was saved by UCSB keeper Sam Hayden. Waspi and Scott Lorenz, who had the initial serve on the attempt from the corner, were credited with assists.

"Brandon really played two outstanding games this weekend," Yeagley said.

After he made three saves in the first half, the Gauchos challenged Horwath for the first time in the second period with a shot by Josue Madueno in the 77th minute, a chance Horwath collected for his fourth stop.

His fifth save came nine minutes later, when Danny Barrera put a shot on frame and Horwath made a clutch stop to keep the Badgers on top. The advantage was short-lived, however, as Barerra later took a through ball and drilled a shot from 10 yards out for the equalizer in the 87th minute.

"Giving up that goal that late, a lot of teams would have lost that game because they would have put their heads down," Yeagley said. "We really stayed disciplined, and I was proud of that.

"Our guys quickly put that behind them and focused on what the task was in overtime."

UCSB had a pair of opportunities early in the first extra session, but UW's Max Wilson had a chance at a game-winning score with just nine seconds left in the period. Wilson's shot was blocked, however, to keep things tied up after 100 minutes.

Horwath kept things even with a save five-and-a-half minutes into the second overtime period on a shot by Waid Ibrahim, and another on a shot by Nic Ryan with just 42 seconds left to play.

The Gauchos had a corner with 35 seconds to go, but the Badgers stopped UCSB from getting another chance at the goal.

For the match, the Badgers were out-shot, 22-7, including a 9-2 edge for the Gauchos in shots-on-goal.

"They have so many different ways to hurt you," Yeagley said of UCSB. "They're very athletic and very dynamic. We had to have all the bases covered and get them out of what they like to do.

"Most of the chances we were giving them were not high-percentage chances, which I was proud of," he added. "We didn't allow them too many good looks."

The Badgers now turn their attention to the Big Ten Conference season, which begins Friday when they host No. 8 Indiana as part of the Pac the Mac doubleheader at the McClimon Complex.

That match is set for 7:30 p.m. following a 5 p.m. match-up featuring the UW women's team against Purdue.

Wisconsin was 0-3-1 in its previous four matches against ranked opponents, all of which came during the 2008 season ... the Badgers' last victory over a rated opponent came when they topped No. 20 Santa Clara, 1-0, in overtime on Sept. 5, 2008 ... Sunday's game was the second of six-consecutive matches for the Badgers against 2008 NCAA Tournament teams ... the draw was UWs first-ever tie in the Milwaukee Panther Invitational ... the Badgers are now 25-12-1 all-time in 19 appearances at the event ... Wisconsin is unbeaten on the season (2-0-2) when allowing one goal or fewer ... the Badgers also moved their record in overtime games to 0-1-2 on the year ... it took more than 81 minutes for UW to tally its first shot-on-goal Sunday ... the Badgers have not been held without a SOG since falling to Indiana, 1-0, in the 2003 Big Ten Tournament ... the 22 shots by UCSB were the most for a UW opponent since Michigan tallied 22 on Sept. 27, 2008 ... that match also was a 1-1, double-overtime draw ... senior forward Scott Lorenz played in his 50th-consecutive game, dating back to Oct. 11, 2006 ... Lorenz also extended his streak of consecutive games with at least one shot to 19, dating back to last season

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