Wisconsin sophomore Ryan Nord scored his first career goal as a Badger to help lead Wisconsin to a 1-0 shutout of visiting Eastern Illinois Friday night at the McClimon Soccer Complex.
I thought we played very well, Wisconsin head coach Jeff Rohrman said. Defensively, we were solid. We worked extremely hard to not give them any time and space to play in and that was a big part of the reason we won the game today.
Offensively, we did a little bit better in and around the box, but still we have to get more shots on goal. For as many shots as we took and as much of an attack as we had, we still need to force the goalkeeper to make saves. But we took care of business and we closed out a tight game. Theyre a good team, so I was very pleased with our performance.
Taking the field after a short burst of rain, the Badgers and Panthers held each other scoreless for the first 20 minutes of the game before Wisconsin took the 1-0 lead.
At the 21-minute mark, Badger forward Nick Van Sicklen played the ball to Wisconsin co-captain Valentine Anozie racing up the left side of the field. Spinning on his defender, Anozie fired the ball on Eastern Illinois keeper Ryan Eames, but the goalie leapt up for a big save on the shot, deflecting the ball off of the crossbar out to the right side of the Panther goal. Finding the ball on a angle to the net, Nord (Evanston, Ill.) rebounded the shot back past Eames for the 1-0 lead and his first goal in the Wisconsin history books.
Ryan (Nord) was just in the right place at the right time, Rohrman said. He put it home from a pretty sharp angle from what I saw, so I thought he did a great job of just getting it on frame.
Throughout the remaining minutes of the game, the Wisconsin defense took control allowing just eight shots by the Panther attack. Led by team co-captain John McGrady and sophomore Joe Anderson, the Badger defensive corps turned back repeated attempts by the Eastern Illinois front line in a physical and muddy match-up to hold off the Panthers scoring efforts.
Wisconsin keeper Eric Hanson collected three saves to ensure the shutout, while Eames posted five saves on the night for Eastern Illinois.
The Badgers (6-2-0) return to the road next Friday for their first Big Ten opponent of the season. Wisconsin plays Ohio State Friday, Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. (CT) in Columbus, Ohio. Following their match with the Buckeyes, the Badgers will play Xavier Sunday, Sept. 29 at 12 p.m. in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The guys are going to be more than ready for Friday, Rohrman said, Im excited to get into the thick of it. Its a great conference and every game will be a battle. The guys are going to be ready and theyre going to be up for our match Friday.