While the UW mens soccer team had a fantastic time on its spring break in Los Angeles from a recreational standpoint, the Badgers also had some business to take care of. Wisconsin was impressive, going 2-1 in the Golden State, defeating Cal State Fullerton, 1-0, on April 1, falling to Cal State Northridge, 1-0, later that day, and beating the Ventura County Fusion, 3-1, on April 3.
UW improved its record to 3-1-2 this spring.
We had a real fun trip. It was nice to be together for five days and the guys really loved their opportunity to see Hollywood, enjoy the beaches and partake in everything else Southern California had to offer, head coach Jeff Rohrman said. We also had a chance to play three good games and the team played exceptionally well. I was very pleased with the way we handled ourselves.
The Badgers first game of the trip pitted them against Cal State Fullerton bright and early at 9 a.m. on April 1. After a scoreless first half, UW would take advantage of a Titans penalty in the second.
In the 52nd minute, Victor Diaz (Madrid, Spain) was fouled from 25 yards out. Pablo Delgado (Madrid, Spain) played the free kick low around the wall and the ball curled around the side netting and into the goal. The goal was all Alex Horwath (Woodbine, Md.) and Ryan Vint (Plymouth, Minn.) needed, as the two goalkeepers shared a shutout to secure the 1-0 win.
Cal State Fullerton is a very talented team, Rohrman said. We defended very well against them. We are very strong on that side of the field.
After a short break for lunch, Wisconsin launched back into action at 1:30 p.m. against Cal State Northridge. A defensive battle kept the contest scoreless in the first half and through much of the second. In the 75th minute, however, the Matadors kicked a perfect ball from 20 yards out off the inside post and past goalkeeper Mike Hood (Lacrosse, Wis.). Cal State Northridge was able to hold on for the final five minutes to notch a 1-0 victory.
Northridge was very physical and we struggled with that, Rohrman said. They were able to get us near the end.
Following a day of leisure on April 2, the Badgers visited Ventura, Calif., to face the Ventura County Fusion of the Premier Development League at 7 p.m. on April 3. Wisconsins endurance was put to the test, as the game was played with three 40 minute periods, instead of UWs typical contests with two 40 minute halves.
The Badgers struck first when Eric Conklin (Rockford, Ill.) played a ball from Pablo Delgado, flipping it right over the goalkeepers head in the 25th minute of the first period. Ten minutes later, Wisconsin made it 2-0 when Delgado converted on a penalty kick.
UW was unable to find the net in the second period, but Ryan Vint held Ventura County scoreless for a second straight period to help maintain Wisconsins 2-0 lead.
The Fusion got on the board in the third when they snuck a cross header past Vint in the periods 15th minute, but the Badgers did not take long to respond. A ball from Kenny Dix (Atlanta, Ga.) was misplayed by the keeper, and Brian Bultman (Tucson, Ariz.) made him pay by knocking it in in the 20th minute. The games scoring would end there and UW finished with a 3-1 win.
Our guys played their best soccer of the three games against Ventura County, Rohrman said. We really deserved that win.
Pictures from UW's trip will be posted under this story within the next few days.
Wisconsin is currently in preparation for its matchup on Saturday against Northern Illinois in Rockford, Ill. After they face the Huskies, the Badgers will get two weeks off of game play until their contests on April 29 against Depaul and UW-Parkside.