The Big Ten mens soccer season opens up on Sunday (Sept. 17), and the Badgers will be home for a clash with the Michigan Wolverines. Kickoff is set for 3:30 p.m. at the McClimon Soccer Complex.
Wisconsin (3-3) will attempt to re-establish an overall winning record for the season after losing two close games, each decided by one goal, to Washington and Creighton last weekend. More importantly in this Big Ten opener, UW will strive for a 1 in the win column of the Big Ten standings.
The Badgers will give their best shot to reverse the recent trend of games against Michigan. Michigan has won the last six games of the series, with Wisconsins last win coming at home in 2000.
UW will be riding the hot play of junior midfielder Dirk Pearson (South Barrington, Ill.). Pearson has led the Wisconsin squad with five total shots, as well as three shots on goal, the last two games. Pearson is also UWs only player to have found the net in those two games, as he put a goal on the board against Washington. Continued high level of play from Pearson would significantly help the Badgers in their quest to kick off the Big Ten season with a win.
Senior goalkeeper Jake Settle (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) has also had a high-quality start to the season. Settle has occupied the net for the vast majority of time through the first six contests, in which he has allowed a mere four goals to get by him. The Wolverines should find it quite difficult to get the ball past Settle on Sunday.
Michigans team comes into the match up fresh off of an upset victory over No. 14 Kentucky on Wednesday (Sept. 13). Sophomore midfielder Alex Morissets first career goal proved to be the game-clincher in overtime. The Wolverines are currently in the midst of a three-game winning streak.
Compared to a typical game, the contest on Sunday carries added significance, as the Big Ten season opener can act as a momentum-setter right out of the gates of Big Ten play. UW plans to stray from their recent Big Ten opener history, as they have not won a conference opener since 2000, when they defeated Ohio State 2-1 in overtime in Columbus, Ohio.
Both Wisconsin and Michigan come off of 2-4 seasons in the conference last year, which tied them for fifth place in the Big Ten.
Kickoff takes place on Sunday (Sept. 13) at 3:30 p.m. at the McClimon Soccer Complex.