No. 9 Penn State did not have an answer for senior forward Nick Van Sicklen who scored a hat trick and notched an assist to lead the Wisconsin mens soccer team to a 4-3 win over the Nittany Lions Sunday, at McClimon Soccer Complex. The Win boosts Wisconsins overall record to 5-6-0 and 1-1-0 in the Big Ten Conference and drops Penn State to 5-2-5 and 0-2-1 in conference play.
I thought the guys played their hearts out, said head coach Jeff Rohrman after the emotional win. Late in the game we thought wed put Nick up top to possibly have him run by somebody and create something. Its one of those things, you make that decision and it works for you.
The game-winning goal came with under a minute to play as Van Sicklen collected a ball sent from sophomore Reid Johnson and beat a Penn State defender with sheer speed and a great cut before slotting the ball in the lower right corner to break the 3-3 tie.
Im just kind of overwhelmed with the game I played and with the way our team performed, Van Sicklen said. Rohrman added, For him it was just a great game. The final goal was a cap on a great performance for Nick.
Van Sicklen had tacked on two more goals earlier in the game giving him his first career hat trick. The first came at 13:39 as he opened the scoring off a chip from Dirk Pearson. Penn State answered back quickly with a goal at 24:24 to knot the game at 1-1.
The Badgers Reid Johnson put the Badgers ahead for the second time as he volleyed a cross from Van Sicklen past PSU keeper Conrad Taylor at 26:45. Senior Noah Goerlitz was also credited with an assist for starting the play with a beautiful ball down the sideline to Van Sicklen. Penn States Dan Shaffer knocked a goal in with less then three minutes in the first half to send the teams into halftime with a tie.
The emotional game led to three yellow cards and a red card to Wisconsins Matt Jelacic and left the badgers short-handed with 22 minutes remaining and Wisconsin holding to a 3-2 lead. Wisconsins third goal was thanks to a penalty kick at 54:44 when Van Sicklen was tripped in the box after breaking through the defense and beat Taylor one-on-one with a low hard shot.
The Badgers held Penn State until 82:15 when Chad Severs scored his second goal of the day as he finished a loose ball in front of the Badger net. Playing with urgency to avoid overtime, Van Sicklen preserved the upset for the Badgers in a dramatic fashion with seconds to go, allowing no time for Penn State to retaliate.
My team was finding my feet and things I was doing were working, Van Sicklen said. I put three goals in, but everyone else did all of the hard work. Noah especially, the guy who runs around harder than anyone and never gets any credit--he plugged the ball in there a lot so that helps.
Although the Badgers were out-shot by Penn State 21-12, the Badgers capitalized on their chances, and goalkeeper Eric Hanson had six key saves to defend the Wisconsin victory.
Everyone played with intensity, emotion and commitment today and Im just really really proud of them, Rohrman said.
Up next for the Badgers is another crucial conference match-up against No. 3 Indiana on Friday, Oct. 15 in Bloomington, Ind. The Badgers lost twice to Indiana in 2003 and are 3-25-3 all-time against the Hoosiers. The last time Wisconsin beat Indiana was in 1995 en route to the national title. Stay tuned to uwbadgers.com to see if Wisconsin can upset the Hoosiers in 2004, for their third-straight win.