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Penn State hands Badgers loss in Big Ten finale

ON WISCONSIN <b>Jon Rzepka scored the second goal of his career Saturday</b>
Jon Rzepka scored the second goal of his career Saturday

Oct. 31, 2009

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MADISON, Wis. – As a team with a 1-5 record in road games, playing against a squad that owned a 6-0-2 mark at home, the numbers were not in Wisconsin’s favor heading into Saturday’s match against Penn State.

In the end, the same was true of the final score, which read 2-1 in favor of the Nittany Lions following the teams’ Big Ten Conference clash at Penn State’s Jeffrey Field.

In downing Wisconsin for the first time since 2005, the Nittany Lions snapped UW’s three-game conference win streak and dropped the Badgers from the top of the Big Ten standings.

UW (6-8-2 overall) concluded its conference slate with a 3-3-0 record and now stands second to Penn State (3-1-1) in the league rundown, although four of the teams that trail the Badgers have two conference games remaining on their schedules.

A number of scenarios are still in play as far as UW’s seeding for the upcoming Big Ten tournament, and the results of Sunday’s matches between Northwestern and Michigan and Ohio State and Indiana will go a long way toward deciding the Badgers’ fate.

Penn State (10-5-2 overall) made life difficult for the Badgers’ back line and peppered senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath with 27 shots, including eight shots-on-goal. Five PSU players tallied at least three shots, including a game-high six by Drew Cost.

Horwath came up with saves on six of the chances Penn State put on frame, including five stops in the second half.

The first chance the Nittany Lions managed to put past Horwath was the penalty kick Matheus Braga converted with just 18 seconds remaining in the first half to give Penn State at 1-0 lead at intermission.

It was the fourth penalty-kick goal the Badgers have allowed this season in five attempts by their opponents.

Corey Hertzog effectively salted things away for Penn State in the 78th minute, when he took a ball from Jason Yeisley on a breakaway and found the back of the net to double the Lions’ advantage at 2-0.

It took less than three minutes for the Badgers to answer, however, as junior Jon Rzepka put home his second career goal in the 81st minute off a free kick from senior Scott Lorenz.

The final four minutes were a flurry of offense, with the Nittany Lions launching four shots – including two Horwath saved with less than four minutes to play.

The Badgers were unable to find the equalizer despite a pair of shots in the final 1 1/2 minutes, including a look by Max Wilson that sailed high with just 50 seconds to play.

Wisconsin finished the match with 13 shots, including a team-high four from junior defender Aaron Nichols and two each from Rzepka and Lorenz.

Saturday's match can be seen at 3 p.m. Sunday, when Big Ten Network will air a tape-delay broadcast of the action.

With Big Ten play concluded, the Badgers turn their attention to their season finale Wednesday against in-state rival Milwaukee. The match is set for 7 p.m. at Engelmann Field in Milwaukee.

Brian Mason
UW Athletic Communications

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