Sept. 25, 2013
MADISON, Wis. -- While it's not uncommon to see the Wisconsin football or basketball team in the national rankings week after week, the same normally can't be said for the Badgers' men's soccer team.
Well that was until Sept. 18.
UW debuted at No. 25 in the NSCAA/Continental Tire Top-25 for the first time in over a decade after completing an impressive road trip in which it won two games, defeating South Florida and Florida Gulf Coast.
Wisconsin last appeared in the premiere national soccer poll when they earned a No. 20 ranking in 2002. The team finished with a 9-10-0 record and was eliminated in the first round of the Big Ten tournament that season.
The Badgers may have never caught the eye of NSCAA/Continental Tire voters without some timely play and a little luck, though.
On Sept. 8, trailing by one to DePaul, with mere seconds remaining on the ticker, Anders Kristensen found Nick Jones who set up Tomislav Zadro for a miraculous goal, netting the equalizer with one-second left in regulation and ultimately sending the match to overtime.
Fueled by Zadro's buzzer beater, the Badgers took care of business in OT and sent the Blue Demons home packing.
The confidence and excitement of the squad radiated throughout the McClimon Soccer Complex as it celebrated a remarkable 3-2-overtime victory. The resiliency and "never-give-up" attitude the team demonstrated against DePaul has proven to be the turning point of Wisconsin's season so far.
That enthusiasm propelled UW to three-straight road wins, recording a combined score of 9-2 in those matches.
Despite a tough, 2-0, loss to Gonzaga in the final game of the UIC Classic, through seven games the Badgers are off to their best start since 2001, when the team began its season, 6-1-0.
It's still very early, but, with its depth and seniority, UW has a great opportunity to do some damage in the Big Ten and beyond.
The Badgers' first test will come this Sunday when they visit University Park, Pa., to take on Penn State at 1:30 p.m. CT.