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Delgado lifts Badgers to win in regular-season finale

ON WISCONSIN <b>Pablo Delgado scored his first goal of the season to lift the Badgers to a 1-0 win</b>
Pablo Delgado scored his first goal of the season to lift the Badgers to a 1-0 win

Nov. 5, 2009

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- For Pablo Delgado and the Wisconsin men’s soccer team, it wasn’t a matter of if, but when.

The Badgers managed 13 shots in the second half of their in-state rivalry battle with Milwaukee, but it took all 13 of those chances for UW to secure a 1-0 win over the Panthers in their regular-season finale at Engelmann Field.

 Wisconsin 1, Milwaukee 0
1st 2nd Final
 Wisconsin (7-8-2, 3-3-0 Big Ten) 0 1 1
 Milwaukee (3-12-2, 2-4-2 Horizon) 0 0 0
 Scoring Summary
 WIS: Pablo Delgado (Bryan Gerster) 89'
18 Shots 8
6 Corners 4

1 Saves 6

Wisconsin dominated the run of play over the match’s final 25 minutes, but it wasn’t until the 89th minute and a score by senior Pablo Delgado that the Badgers secured the victory.

Delgado took a ball from Bryan Gerster at the near post and slotted a shot home to the far post from 12 yards out for the game-winner.

“We wanted to get it done,” said Delgado, who scored his first goal of the season. “We were creating chances and had to keep pushing, because we knew it would come sooner or later and we were confident.

“It worked out pretty well.”

After a rather sluggish first half on the offensive end, the Badgers (7-8-2 overall) came out of intermission with a more organized and consistent attack. Wisconsin put five shots on goal in the second half, including two great looks by Gerster in the minutes leading up to his assist on Delgado’s score.

In rapid succession, he launched in a shot that UWM keeper John Shakon hauled in at the far post and then laid a low ball into the near post on which Shakon made an outstanding diving save.

“We were starting to build up finally and I just kept playing and things started going my way,” Gerster said. “Everything felt like it was on frame for me, and Pablo finally finished it off when I didn’t.”

The Badgers out-shot Milwaukee by a 13-3 margin in the second half, with the Panthers not recording their first – and only – shot-on-goal of the match until the 79th minute.

“It was an exciting game that had some flows both ways, but I felt overall that our team defense was really solid,” UW head coach Todd Yeagley said. “Milwaukee has some dangerous players and it showed tonight, but I liked the way we played in the second half and especially the last 25 minutes.”

Gerster and Delgado proved to be the game-changers for the Badgers, and both came off the bench to make their contributions. Together, they combined for eight shots – including three on frame – while playing a combined 75 minutes.

“It’s been a long year for me with injuries and everything, so it feels good to be back and help the team win,” said Delgado, who has missed five games due to injury.

“I was very happy for Pablo, who hasn’t played as much this year as he’d like,” Yeagley said. “He gave us a lot. We said before the game that everyone needed to be ready, and Pablo really stepped up to fill the role we asked him to fill.”

Yeagley used only three reserves, with freshman Ata Ozbay also seeing time, but those that came off the bench provided more than just minutes in relief.

“The timing was good,” Yeagley said. “That combo of Bryan and Pablo really gave us the ability to get Scott (Lorenz) and Brandon (Miller) more involved up front in the second half.

“It was great for both of them to contribute in such a big way. Bryan and Pablo really were the difference for us tonight.”

Miller and Lorenz tallied four shots apiece, including a pair of good looks Miller converted into shots-on-goal. Lorenz also had a shot on frame in the first half, one of just two the Badgers put on goal in the opening period.

Both teams managed five shots in the first half, but neither had any quality chances until the second half, when the Badgers turned up the intensity.

“We were more relaxed out there in the second half, and there was better communication,” Gerster said. “It’s big finishing the regular season on a win to get some momentum going like we had in the middle of the year.”

The Badgers will look to ride that momentum into next week’s Big Ten tournament, which is set for Nov. 12-15 at Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, Ind. Wisconsin is likely to be seeded third, fourth or fifth for the tournament, with the result of this weekend’s final regular-season conference matchups determining the final seeding.

“Now we know what we have to do in the tournament,” Gerster said. “With everyone contributing like we did tonight, I feel like we’re a threat to win it.”

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