The Wisconsin mens soccer team kicked off the Big Ten season with a bang on Sunday, coming up with a 2-1 overtime win against Michigan.
A midfield kick towards Michigans goal from UW senior midfielder William Bagayoko (Baton Rouge, La,) was mishandled by the Michigan defense, resulting in an own-goal in the 97th minute and a 1-0 start to the Big Ten season for Wisconsin (4-3-0 overall).
The Badgers first goal came in the 75th minute of the game when freshmen Brandon Miller (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) passed the ball to Dirk Pearson (South Barrington, Ill.) at the left side of the goal. The junior forward went to the ground and slid to the ball, knocking it straight into the net for his second goal on the season.
Wisconsin, however, did not find goals easy to come by, as goalkeeper Patrick Sperry had several spectacular saves for Michigan (4-4-0, 0-1-0). UWs Zack Lambo (Crystal Lake, Ill.) had a very tough, hooking shot off of a free kick, which Sperry had to dive for to stop from going in.
Lambo again had a fantastic shot go to waste, when Sperry dove to the upper right corner of the goal to stop a Lambo rocket at the beginning of overtime.
In what was a tightly played game throughout, Michigan threatened first, when defender Jake Stacy hit the right post of the UW goal in the 16th minute.
Wisconsin pressured next, when midfielder Zach Caronna headed a pass from forward Eric Conklin (Rockford, Ill.) into the left post of Michigans goal in the 38th minute.
Jake Settle (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) made a magnificent save at the start of the second half, when Michigans Mauro Fuzetti took a pass off of a free kick and kicked a line-drive shot to the right side of the net. Settle laid out to the left to make the save.
In the 75th minute, less than a minute after Michigans Sperry made a diving save off of a shot from Lambo, Pearson directed a sliding goal into the net to put the Badgers on the board.
With just 28 seconds remaining in the game, Michigans Brian Popeney shot a free kick into the right corner of the goal, sending the game to overtime.
Michigan missed a close shot in the third minute of overtime, and Wisconsin too was inches away from scoring, when a Lambo shot was saved by Sperry in the eighth minute of overtime.
With 2:09 remaining in the first overtime, the Michigan defense misplayed a ball from UWs Bagayoko, and the result was an own-goal and a Wisconsin victory.
The Badgers will hope to ride the momentum of their win against Michigan when they play UW-Milwaukee at 7:00 p.m. this Wednesday (Sept. 20). The game will be played at home at the McClimon Soccer Complex.