After spending the last three weeks on the road, the Wisconsin men's soccer team returns to Madison to play host to Northern Illinois Wednesday at 6 p.m. at McClimon Soccer Complex. The Badgers then face Michigan State in the Big Ten home opener at noon on Sunday in a game that will be televised live on the Big Ten Network.
The Badgers (4-2-2 overall, 0-0-1 Big Ten) posted a pair of ties last week, playing to a scoreless draw with UW-Green Bay on Thursday and a 2-2 tie with No. 14 Michigan on Sunday in the Big Ten opener.
Sophomore goalkeeper Alex Horwath made four saves last Thursday to record his fourth straight shutout. His shutout streak finally ended against Michigan on Sunday after reaching 494 minutes and 33 seconds. In seven career starts, Horwath now has five shutouts.
Against No. 14 Michigan on Sunday, Wisconsin twice held the lead in the first half thanks to goals by the teams two leading scorers. Sophomore Brian Bultman put the team up 1-0 in the seventh minute with his fourth goal of the season. Later in the first half, junior Victor Diaz gave the Badgers a 2-1 lead with his second goal of the season. Bultman and Diaz rank first and second on the team in points with eight and seven, respectively.
Bultman has started his UW career at a tremendous pace. In 10 career games, Bultman has seven goals and 14 points.
The Northern Illinois Huskies (2-3-3) come to Madison having won only once in their last six games. NIU earned a 1-1 draw with then-No. 8 Notre Dame on Sept. 9. In its most recent match, the Huskies fell to Gonzaga 1-0, a team Wisconsin beat by the same score on Sept. 14.
Wisconsin is 14-10-0 all-time against Northern Illinois, however the Badgers have lost three straight and eight of the last nine in the series. Last season, the Huskies defeated Wisconsin 1-0 in overtime in Dekalb, Ill. UW holds an 8-4-0 advantage against NIU in Madison.