The Wisconsin mens soccer team faces its stiffest challenge of the young season tonight, as the Badgers welcome 20th-ranked Santa Clara to the McClimon Complex for the first day of the Middleton Sports & Fitness Invitational.
The Badgers and Broncos will tangle at 7:30 p.m., with a matchup between UW-Milwaukee and Dayton preceding the match at 5 p.m.
Santa Clara, a top-five pick in every major preseason poll, is off to an 0-2-0 start to the season after dropping road contests to Loyola (Chicago) and No. 16 Illinois-Chicago over the long weekend, while the Badgers are off to their first 2-0-0 start since the 2005 season. Fridays will be the first-ever meeting between the teams.
"It's certainly great for our players and our fans to host a team like Santa Clara at home," UW head coach staffid=350"> --> Jeff Rohrman said. "We know they will be hungry for a win, and we have worked hard this week to improve from our first weekend and be ready for them."
The Broncos return seven starters from last years team, which finished 16-2-4 overall and advanced to the third round of the NCAA tournament, where they were knocked out by Notre Dame. Santa Clara was tabbed in the preseason to defend its West Coast Conference title of a season ago, when the Broncos went 10-0-2 in league play.
Jeff Cosgriff leads the Broncos with four points off a pair of goals, while Brian Martin and Ross Smith also have tallied scores for SCU in its first two contests. The team also has outshot its first two opponents by a margin of 25-22.
The Badgers, meanwhile, enter the weekend off a pair of 2-1 wins in last weekends Dayton Flyer Classic, including a double-overtime victory in the season-opener against Wright State. Junior athid=5964&deptid=122"> --> Pablo Delgado leads UW in scoring with three points, while junior goalkeeper athid=6384&deptid=122"> --> Alex Horwath has played all 196 minutes in goal and owns a 0.92 goals-against average.
After facing Santa Clara tonight, the Badgers again will be tested on Sunday in a tilt with Dayton, which also enters the weekend 2-0-0 and claimed the Dayton Flyer Classic tournament title over UW on the basis of goal differential last weekend.
This weekends games are two of nine home matches scheduled for the UW this season, but the last until the Badgers host Michigan on Sept. 27.
"I really hope to have great crowds for this weekend's matches," Rohrman said. "This tournament is a great opportunity for students, Badger fans or just fans of soccer in general to get out and see some very good teams compete at a high level right here in Madison."
Tonights match is UW Student Night, with free admission for students who present a valid UW-Madison ID. In addition, the first 250 UW students will receive a pair of Wisconsin Soccer Thunderstix, and all fans will receive a complimentary 2008 Wisconsin men's soccer team poster courtesy of Country Kitchen, while supplies last.
Sunday is Team Day at the McClimon Complex, with all pre-registered soccer teams (varsity, junior varsity, freshmen and club teams) receiving free admission. To register for the free admission offer, simply fax your team roster to (608) 265-0788. For further details, call (608) 262-7453.
Badger Game Day Information
- sportid=122"> --> Mens Soccer Game Day Page
- Live Stats
- Wisconsin Game Notes
- Santa Clara Game Notes
- Dayton Game Notes
- UW-Milwaukee Game Notes
- sportid=122&storyid=14850"> --> This Week in Badger Men's Soccer
- sportid=122&storyid=14873"> --> The Rohrman Report #2: Ryan Vint
- sportid=122&storyid=14843"> --> UW places three on all-tournament team