Senior captain Nick Van Sicklen was the difference for the University of Wisconsin mens soccer team, scoring both goals in the Badgers 2-1 victory over UW-Milwaukee, Wednesday night at McClimon Soccer Complex. The win boosts Wisconsin to 4-6-0 and 0-1-0 in Big Ten Conference play. UWM falls to 3-3-3 and 1-0-0 in the Horizon League.
The teams effort was outstanding, said assistant coach Jon Szczepanski. We coaches challenged these guys a couple of games ago to give it everything they have and really concentrate on everything they are doing, both on and off the field; to pay attention to the little details and they did that.
Van Sicklen was especially spry, capitalizing on two loose balls in the box for both Badger goals. The first came at 14:39 with assists from freshmen forwards B.J. Goodman and Dirk Pearson. Goodman began the play by launching a well-played ball down the field to Pearson who juked a UWM defender before rifling a low-hard shot off the post. Van Sicklen was alert and sprinted onto the loose ball sending it past goalkeeper Eric Mickschl for the games first goal.
One was not enough for Van Sicklen, who scored his second goal of the day in a very similar fashion. Midway through the second half at 57:19, Aaron Witchger sent a ball to David Martinez who ran through it despite getting tripped up by converging UWM defenders. Once again Van Sicklen pounced on the loose ball and slotted it home. He also finished the game with five shots, four of which were on goal.
He was our MVP tonight, not just for scoring those two goals, but he did a lot of other work. We are very proud of him, said Szczepanski.
Van Sicklen credited his team saying, I think we definitely came together as a whole unit which we havent seen the entire year. Im proud of the guys for stepping up and playing with confidence.
Despite Wisconsins commanding two-goal lead, UWM would not relent. They battled back and closed the gap in the second half on a Trent Furtsch goal at 65:24.
UWM had various other opportunities to tie the game down the stretch, but Wisconsin goalkeeper Eric Hanson would not crumble. He finished the game with six saves, three of which were in the closing minutes of the game to preserve a win.
Eric is our rock. Everyone will say that in our defense, Eric Hanson is our rock, said Szczepanski. He came through and made three big saves at the end. Hes what makes our defense solid.
The win could not have come at a better time for the Badgers, as they are set to face-off against No. 9 Penn State on Sunday Oct. 10 at 1 p.m. at McClimon in an important conference match-up.
I think if we play like we did today, good results will follow against good teams like Penn State, said Van Sicklen about the upcoming game. Our intensity and communication were better then it has been all season, so it would be great to get a win against a top Big Ten team.
Stay tuned to uwbadgers.com for all Wisconsins upcoming action.