As part of our preseason coverage leading up to the Wisconsin mens soccer teams season-opener on Sept. 4, UWBadgers.com is offering up short lists of what fans should look for this fall in the What to Watch 4 series. Today, we take a look at four players to keep an eye on this season.
athid=6384&deptid=122"> --> Alex Horwath | Senior | Goalkeeper
A two-year starter in goal since transferring from UConn before the 2007 season, the Woodbine, Md., native has become the Badgers vocal leader on the field. Anchoring a defense that gave up just over one goal per game last season, Horwath should help ease the transition on the back line as the Badgers look to replace the departed Andy Miller and Zack Lambo.
Horwath will combine with a pair of All-Big Ten selections from last year in fellow seniors Taylor Waspi and Eric Conklin to form what should be a very imposing defense for the Badgers. Look for Horwath to continue moving up in the record books, too, as he already ranks sixth in career shutouts (12), ninth in career saves (134) and 10th in career wins (15) after just two seasons.
athid=5964&deptid=122"> --> Pablo Delgado | Senior | Midfielder
Already known for his offensive weapons, Delgado has impressed the Badgers new coaching staff with the development of his skills as a defender. By improving his personal defense, Delgado will make himself a more integral part of the Badgers transition game and, likely, even more of a scoring threat.
The native of Madrid, Spain, was as hot as any UW player to start the 2008 season earning Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honors for the week of Sept. 8 but was slowed by injury in the middle of the campaign and missed four games completely. If he can stay healthy, look for Delgado to improve on the two goals and four assists he contributed last season.
athid=6608&deptid=122"> --> Austin Spohn | Redshirt Sophomore | Midfielder
Spohn was a key contributor for the Badgers down the stretch in 2008, starting five of the teams final eight regular-season games. He finished the season as one of the Badgers top 10 scorers four points from a goal and two assists despite tallying fewer minutes (635) than anyone else in that group.
After redshirting the 2007 season, Spohn scored his first career goal in just his second collegiate game, a 2-1 win over Denver. After a strong showing this spring, including a two-goal game against UW-Milwaukee, he will be expected to provide points out of the midfield this fall. Look for Spohn to find the back of the net more frequently in his second season.
athid=7224&deptid=122"> --> Mark Roos | Sophomore | Forward
If theres a leading candidate for the player that could follow in Scott Lorenzs footsteps from a year ago when Lorenz broke out for 10 goals after a strong spring season its Roos. Like Lorenz in 2008, he showed flashes of brilliance while operating up top during the spring.
At 6-foot-3, hes the second-tallest player on the Badgers roster, but Roos is deceptively quick in the open field and is remarkably agile in traffic, especially given his size. He showed an ability to slice through a defense on more than one occasion during the spring and should see plenty of minutes on the Badgers front line.