The Wisconsin mens soccer team earned its first Big Ten win of the season after defeating No. 20 Penn State 2-1 at the McClimon Soccer Complex Sunday afternoon. Badger sophomores Nick Van Sicklen and David Martinez posted a goal a piece against the Nittany Lions to improve Wisconsins record to 7-4-0 overall and 1-1 in the Big Ten.
I thought we played a very good first half and it was a little disappointing to go into the break 1-1, Wisconsin head coach Jeff Rohrman said. With the exception of the last ten seconds of the first half, when we gave up that goal, I thought we played quite well.
We still had a little bit of that sting from giving up that goal as we started the second half. (Penn State) had the better of us for the first 20 minutes, but then we started to show the emotion and intensity thats required to win big games. I give our guys a ton of credit and I knew we werent going to let this one slip away.
After 30 minutes of scoreless play in the first period, Wisconsin team co-captain Valentine Anozie created the Badgers first scoring opportunity. Dribbling the ball down the right side of the field and defeating two Penn State defenders, Anozie sent a cross ball past the front of Nittany Lion keeper Ryan Moate. The keeper eyed up Wisconsins attack directly in front of him, but Moate missed Van Sicklen to the left and the UW forward one-touched Anozies cross past Moate for the goal and 1-0 lead at 30:50.
Nearing the halftime break, Penn State tied up the game 1-1 on a header goal by Gabe Bernstein with nine seconds left in the first period. Following a Wisconsin foul, David Walters took the free kick for Penn State and set up Bernsteins goal, a high header past Wisconsin keeper Eric Hanson to the back post.
Following the period break, the stalemate continued for 20 minutes as the Badgers worked to regain control of the ball in front of the Penn State net doubling their shooting effort. With Anozie and the UW front line picking up seven shots in the second half, Wisconsins second goal played out just like the first off of an Anozie assist. Taking Anozies cross from the left, Martinez outstepped his defender and finished off the play by firing the ball past Moate for the game-winning goal at 76:25.
In net, Hanson recorded five saves for Wisconsin, while Moate collected four saves for Penn State.
October only gets more challenging for Wisconsin as the Badgers travel to Bloomington, Ind., Friday to face the No. 4 Hoosiers. Indiana, now 8-1-2 and 3-0 in the Big Ten, posted a 2-1 overtime win against Michigan Sunday afternoon. The Badgers return home Oct. 16 and will start a three-game home stretch against UW-Milwaukee, followed by matches against Dartmouth (Oct. 18) and Michigan (Oct. 20).
Wisconsin kicks off against Indiana at 7 p.m. (CT) Friday night at the Hoosiers Bill Armstrong Stadium.