The Wisconsin men's soccer team went full-squad for the first time on Friday afternoon, conducting a 45-minute scrimmage at Breese Stevens Field on Madison's east side for the second training session of the day.
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The squads were largely based on experience, with the Yellow team featuring most of last year's retuning starters and the Blue squad made up largely of underclassmen. There were a few exceptions, including freshman Ata Ozbay spending time as a forward for the Yellow team.
The veterans came out on top, with senior Eric Conklin's header 10 minutes into the match the only score in a 1-0 win for Yellow. The upperclassmen also scored a 4-1 win when the team switched gears into fast-paced, 5v5 work in the half-field.
"It was nice to come out here to Breese and be on the big field in a different venue," head coach staffid=1074"> --> Todd Yeagley said. "Psychologically that's a challenge in the preseason when you're going twice a day, so any change in scenery we can make should help the players keep that edge."
With five practices in the books, Yeagley says he and his coaching staff are pleased with where the team is at heading into Monday's exhibition opener against a strong UW-Parkside team.
"The guys have come in fit so we've been able to move quickly into some big numbers on the field," Yeagley said. "The focus is still on individual principles and laying that foundation so we can quickly transition into full-squad situations to see how those combinations are going to work and start developing the chemistry we need to be successful."
As far as individual players who have stood out during the first week of training, Yeagley pointed to the core of experience that returns for the Badgers this season.
"The old salty dogs, as we're calling them, have been doing pretty well," he said. "I think Scotty Lorenz has come back hungry and is playing very well, as is Brandon Miller, and Aaron Nichols has had some very good moments so far, just to name a few.
"The heart and soul of this team is going to come from that group of upperclassmen, and we've been pleased with them so far."