The Wisconsin mens soccer team kicks off the 2006 season at 5 p.m. Friday evening at the Golden Hurricane Classic, a four-team tournament in Tulsa, Okla. The action begins at 5 p.m. Friday when UW takes on Southern Methodist.
The Badgers open the regular season after a successful preseason campaign. UW defeated Oakland (Mich.) 1-0 on a goal by freshman Pablo Delgado (Madrid, Spain) on Aug. 12 and then posted a 5-0 win over UW-Parkside on Aug. 18. Redshirt freshman Eric Conklin (Rockford, Ill.) had two goals while Delgado notched a goal and two assists against the Rangers.
With eight seniors and all 11 starters returning this season, including College Soccer News preseason third-team All-American Aaron Hohlbein (Middleton, Wis.), the 2006 squad may be the deepest and most experienced team that head coach Jeff Rohrman has ever coached.
"We have a lot of experience this year," Rohrman said. "I am expecting a lot from this senior class in terms of leadership on and off the field. I think theyre going to lead us in the right direction this fall."
SMU will prove to be a difficult early test for the Badgers. The Mustangs, an NCAA semifinalist team last season that lost to eventual champion Maryland, were ranked No. 7 in the preseason edition of the NSCAA/adidas National Rankings. SMU played one exhibition game, notching a 2-0 win over Oral Roberts on Aug. 19.
In Friday's other game in Tulsa, UW-Milwaukee will face off against host-school Tulsa at 7:30 p.m. The two Wisconsin schools will then trade opponents on Sunday, with UWM playing SMU at noon and UW concluding the tournament with a game against Tulsa at 2:30 p.m.
Tulsa will make its season debut against UW-Milwaukee Friday. The Golden Hurricane played three exhibition games in August, beating Northeastern (Okla.) State 1-0 and John Brown 7-1 before tying Missouri State 1-1.
The Badgers were recently picked to finish fourth in the Big Ten by conference coaches. Indiana was tabbed to win the league title with Penn State and Ohio State rounding out the top three.
SMU is the first of five UW regular season opponents that were ranked in the preseason edition of the NSCAA/adidas National Rankings. Southern Methodist earned the highest ranking at No. 7, followed by Creighton (No. 8), Indiana (No. 12), Penn State (No. 13) and Washington (No. 25). In addition, UW-Milwaukee was ranked 24th in the preseason Soccer America poll.
Two other Badgers earned preseason recognitions from College Soccer News. Goalkeeper Ryan Vint (Plymouth, Minn.) and midfielder Taylor Waspi (Deer Park, Ill.) were named to the publications annual national list of the Top 100 freshmen to watch.
For this weeks game notes, click on the News Releases and Archives button found on the sidelines column.