Reid Johnsons header into the Western Illinois goal helped the No. 22 UW mens soccer team extend its unbeaten streak to six games, defeating the Leathernecks 1-0 on Wednesday at McClimon Soccer Complex.
In the 17th minute, Pablo Delgado (Madrid, Spain) played a corner kick to Victor Diaz (Madrid, Spain) around the upper-left corner of the 18-yard box. Diaz shot the ball into the top right corner of the goal, but it was saved by Stephen Paterson, the Western Illinois (7-5-0) goalkeeper.
The ball, however, was not controlled by Paterson. It ricocheted up upon hitting his hands, and Johnson (Mequon, Wis.) handled it from there. Leaping up, he headed the ball straight into the middle of the net to notch his second straight game with a goal.
The goal would turn out to be all Wisconsin (7-3-2, 2-0-1) needed for the victory.
UWs six-game unbeaten streak marks the teams first such streak since the 1995 season when they won their last seven games regular season games of the year. That team went on to win the NCAA championship.
Wisconsin goalkeeper Jake Settle (Cedar Rapids, Iowa), who on Oct. 2 was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week, has a streak of his own. The senior now has gone 436:39 without letting in a goal. This time-span has covered four-straight shutouts by the Badgers, the first time UW has accomplished this feat since 1996.
Victor Diaz, who missed several games in the middle of the season with a shoulder injury, played a solid game, and looks to be back at full strength. The redshirt-sophomore played a very physical game, and recorded three shots, two of them on goal. Also, his assist on the Johnson goal gave him his ninth point of the season, tying him with Zack Lambo (Crystal Lake, Ill.) for the team lead.
The Badgers started the game off relatively slow, allowing the Leathernecks to control the tempo for the first 10 or so minutes. They, however, found their groove soon after, and looked to be in command for the rest of the game. The defense played wonderfully, never once allowing a real scare for Settle.
The Badgers focus now shifts to their Sunday (Oct. 8) contest at Columbus, Ohio, when they will put their six-game unbeaten streak, as well as their undefeated Big Ten record, on the line against Ohio State. The game starts at 1 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.