The University of Wisconsin mens soccer team (4-5-0) opens the Big Ten Conference season as they face Ohio State (5-2-1) Sunday at the McClimon Soccer Complex. The game is set to start at 2 p.m. and will be the Big Ten opener for both teams.
Wednesday night the Badgers lost to Northern Illinois 1-0, losing their third straight. UW goalkeeper Jake Settle (Cedar Rapids, Iowa) recorded five saves in 90 minutes of action in his first game back after missing his first start of the season due to an injury he suffered late in last Fridays game.
This will mark the fourth year in a row that the Badgers take on the Buckeyes in the Big Ten opener. UW has lost each of the past three openers by the score of 0-1, including one overtime loss. In 2003, the Badgers lost 0-1 to start the Big Ten season, but rebounded beating the Buckeyes 2-0 in the first round of the Big Ten tournament that year.
Head coach Jeff Rohrman is trying to win his first Big Ten opener this year, as he has lost to Ohio State head coach John Bluem each of the past three years. In 20 games against the Buckeyes, the Badgers have a record of 10-9-1, evidence of how evenly matched the two programs are.
Ohio State started the season with a 5-1-0 record in their first six games and earned a #16 ranking in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America poll. Since then the Buckeyes have registered a loss and a tie, and have fallen out of the national rankings. Ohio State plays in Akron, Ohio as they take on the Akron Zips tonight before playing the Badgers Sunday.
After Sundays game the Badgers will have only one day off before they take on in-state rival UW-Milwaukee on Tuesday Oct. 4 at 3 p.m. at the Panther Soccer Complex in Milwaukee. The Panthers (4-1-3) have been scouted by the Badgers as they have competed in both the Big Toe Soccer Invite and the UW-Milwaukee Panther Classic, but have yet to face each other.
Last year UW beat UW-Milwaukee 2-1 in Madison as they started their sweep of the three Wisconsin teams. The Panthers have a slight all-time edge over the Badgers with a record of 12-11-4.