The UW mens soccer team opened up its spring season this past weekend and played right in line with the high expectations it set after a successful 2006 fall season. The Badgers went 1-0-2 against two Minnesota Thunder split squads and UW-Milwaukee this past Saturday in Madison at McClain Athletic Facility.
Wisconsin started its day off at 9:30 a.m. against team two of the Minnesota Thunder, a United Soccer Leagues First Division team that split its squad into two even groups for the day.
The Badgers struck in the first half, when Eric Ortega (Western Springs, Ill.) knocked in a goal off the deflection of a Brandon Miller (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) serve.
The Thunder, however, would bounce back in the second half, using the effort of a familiar UW face. After the ball was crossed to the post, former Badger William Bagayoko, who played with UW from 2003-06, hit a first-time volley straight into the net. The game ended in a 1-1 tie.
Wisconsin then matched up against the Thunders first team at 2:30 p.m. The Thunder jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first half, but UW would return with a tear in the second.
The Badgers started their come back when Brian Bultman (Tucson, Ariz.) played a through ball to Dirk Pearson (South Barrington, Ill.). Pearson handled business from there, slotting the ball to the far post past goalkeeper Jake Settle, another former Badger.
UW tied the score up by taking care of a few extra opportunities. After a Bryan Gerster (Hoschton, Ga.) shot was saved by Settle, Sho Fujita (West Bloomfield, Mich.) played a rebound towards the net, though Settle was able to come up with another save. Wisconsin would finally break through when the ball was rebounded again, as Bultman tapped in the rebound for a goal.
The Badgers took the lead when Nick Caronna (Brookfield, Wis.) cashed in on the rebound of a Bultman header, scoring to put UW up 3-2.
The Thunder, however, would score with five minutes to go in the contest, ending the game in a 3-3 tie.
A battle against UW-Milwaukee followed at 4 p.m. and Wisconsin got off to a quick start. Pablo Delgado (Madrid, Spain) converted on a penalty shot after Bultman was taken down in the box. Delgado continued his great game when he rifled a shot past the goalkeeper from 30 yards out to the upper left corner of the net, putting the Badgers up 2-0.
A UW-Milwaukee goal later in the first half would prove to be the last score in the game for either team. A scoreless second half gave the Badgers a 2-1 win.
Wisconsins next action will come in the form of its alumni game on March 25 at 2 p.m. at McClain Athletic Facility.
The Badgers will then enjoy their spring break in California. On April 1, UW faces California St.-Fullerton at 9 a.m. in Fullerton, Calif. Wisconsin will then contend against California St.-Northridge at 1:30 p.m. on the same field.
Two days later, the Badgers will head to Ventura, Calif., for a match up against the Premier Developmental Leagues Ventura County Fusion.
UWs following game will come a little bit closer to home, as they face Northern Illinois in Rockford, Ill., on April 14, with a start time yet to be determined.
The Badgers conclude their spring season in Parkside, Wisc., against Depaul and UW-Parkside on April 29, with times for both games to be determined at a later date.