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Badgers look for breakthrough against Spartans

ON WISCONSIN <b>Scott Lorenz</b> tallied four shots-on-goal against Michigan State last season
Scott Lorenz tallied four shots-on-goal against Michigan State last season

Oct. 10, 2009

A pair of teams still looking for their first Big Ten Conference wins of the season go head to head Sunday, as Wisconsin (2-5-2, 0-2-0 Big Ten) hosts Michigan State (6-3-1, 0-2-0) at the McClimon Complex. The 3 p.m. match will be televised live by Big Ten Network.

It's High School Team Day at the McClimon Complex, with pre-registered high school squads receiving free admission.

Game 10 | Michigan State (6-3-1, 0-2-0) at Wisconsin (2-5-2, 0-2-0)

Date: Sunday, Oct. 11
Time: 3 p.m.
Location: Madison, Wis.
Site: McClimon Complex (4,500)
Tickets: $5 adults, $2 children and seniors
Promotions: High School Team Day
Online: Live Blog | GameTracker | Mobile Live Stats
All-Time Series: Wisconsin leads, 19-8-4

Roster | Schedule | Stats | News | Record Book | Game Notes

Michigan State
Roster | Schedule | Stats | News | Record Book | Game Notes

The Week Ahead
The Badgers return to action for the first time in a full week and head into Sunday's match coming off a 3-0 loss to Michigan last Sunday in Ann Arbor. Wisconsin seeks to snap a three-game losing streak and looks for its first win since downing Oakland, 1-0, on Sept. 18.

UW will play just its fourth home game of the season, and only its second since Sept. 11.

Online Coverage Expands
Fans unable to attend the Badgers’ matches in person can stay close to the action at home thanks to a pair of additions to online coverage of home games at UWBadgers.com. Live stats will continue to be offered for every home game in 2009, but fans can now enjoy a more in-depth presentation of the events on the field through GameTracker from CBS College Sports.

In addition, soccer fans will be able to follow along with the live, interactive in-game blogs that have become popular for a number of Badgers sports on UWBadgers.com.

Become an Insider
Sign up now to receive the Badger Men’s Soccer Insider, a service of BuckyMail, and stay current with the latest news and features on the UW men’s soccer team. Subscribers will receive a weekly e-mail with news and links to all things Badger soccer, directly to their inbox. You can sign up for BuckyMail and the Badger Men’s Soccer Insider by clicking here.

Looking Back
The Badgers are looking for an offensive spark after being shut out in three-consecutive matches for the first time since the 1997 season. The latest blanking came Sunday in a 3-0 loss to Michigan that extended UW’s winless streak to four games.

Wisconsin, which has played six of its last seven matches away from home, fell to 0-4-0 in true road games this season.

Against Michigan State, the Badgers will play just their second home game in a month. UW has played six of its seven matches since Sept. 11 away from the McClimon Complex, going 1-4-1 over that span. Following Sunday’s game, the Badgers play three of their final seven matches at home.

Sunday’s contest also will conclude a stretch of six-consecutive games against 2008 NCAA Tournament qualifiers for UW. The Badgers have gone 1-3-1 in the first five games of that span.

The meeting of UW and Michigan State also pits a pair of first-year coaches against each other. Badgers head man Todd Yeagley is in his first season at UW, while Damon Rensing took over the Spartans program this season after serving as an assistant to Joe Baum for 10 seasons.

Michigan State will make its first appearance at the McClimon Complex since winning the 2008 Big Ten Tournament last November.

In all, the Badgers have been shut out in five of their nine matches this season, the most scoreless outings for a UW team since the Badgers were blanked seven times in the 2006 season.

Sunday, the Badgers will make their first appearance of the season on Big Ten Network and will seek their first-ever win in a game televised by the third-year network. UW is 0-3-2 in matches televised by BTN, including a 3-0 loss to Michigan State in the Badgers’ first appearance on the network on Sept. 30, 2007.

Sophomore Austin Spohn, who has started all nine games this season for UW, will miss Sunday’s contest after being issued two yellow cards in the Badgers’ loss to Michigan.

Scouting the Opponent: Michigan State
The Spartans enter Sunday’s match coming off a midweek win over in-state rival Western Michigan on Wednesday.

Like the Badgers, Michigan State seeks its first Big Ten win after falling to Ohio State and Penn State in a pair of 1-0 losses to open conference play.
After an unbeaten start through five games in which they outscored opponents 12-1, the Spartans are 2-3-0 in their last five matches.

MSU has played just two true road games this season and are 0-1-1 in those contests.

Sophomore forward Ruben Bega leads the Spartans offensively after pitching in a pair of two-goal games in MSU’s last three contests. Both of Bega’s multiple-score games were 2-0 wins for the Spartans, and he leads the team with seven goals and two assists.

The difference for MSU has been defense, however, as the Spartans have allowed just five goals in their 10 games, including six shutouts.

Junior goalkeeper Avery Steinlage has been one of the major reasons behind that stifling defense, as he owns a league-best 0.40 goals-against average and a .862 save percentage on the season.

Steinlage set the NCAA record for consecutive scoreless minutes at 1,318:26 earlier this season. The shutout streak dated back to Oct. 15 of last season and was snapped in the Spartans’ sixth game this year.

About the Series
The Badgers own a 19-8-4 advantage in the teams’ all-time series, but are winless in their last three meetings with the Spartans (0-2-1).

In regular-season matchups, Wisconsin holds a 16-7-3 edge in the all-time series.

UW’s last win in the series came in an overtime contest on Oct. 30, 2005 in Madison. All-time, the Badgers own a 9-4-1 record against MSU in games played in Madison. That includes a 5-3 mark at the McClimon Complex.

Sunday’s match will be the second between the Spartans and Badgers to be televised by Big Ten Network. Michigan State scored a 3-0 win on Sept. 30, 2007 in the teams’ previous televised matchup.

UW’s Todd Yeagley will face the Spartans for the first time as a head coach. He went 4-2-2 against Michigan State in six seasons as an assistant coach at Indiana and was 4-0-0 against the Spartans as a player at IU from 1991 to 1994.

Damon Rensing, in his first season as head coach at Michigan State, will make his debut against the Badgers. The Spartans were 5-5-1 against UW with Rensing as an assistant coach from 1999 to 2008.

Here’s Jonny
Junior midfielder Jon Rzepka continued the road back from a foot injury that kept him sidelined for the entire 2008 season at the Milwaukee Panther Classic.

Rzepka was in the starting 11 for the Badgers’ Sept. 18 matchup with Oakland, marking his first start since Oct. 20, 2007.

Rzepka has played in all six of UW’s games this season after making his return to the field in the Badgers’ season-opener against Virginia Tech on Sept. 4.

Sweet Home, Milwaukee
Wisconsin’s 19th appearance in the 36-year-old Milwaukee Panther Invitational (Sept. 18-20) was another productive trip to Milwaukee for the Badgers, who went 1-0-1 on the weekend and earned a runner-up finish in the event.

The Badgers’ 1-1 draw with UC Santa Barbara was UW’s first-ever tie in the event and moved the Badgers’ record in the tournament to 25-12-1 all-time.

The Badgers also improved their all-time mark at Engelmann Field to 27-16-6.

Feels Like the First Time
Freshman Ata Ozbay made the first start of his career Sunday against San Diego State, and has now appeared in all four of the Badgers’ matches in his rookie season.

Sophomore Mark Roos, also a forward, is the other UW player to make his debut in the starting lineup this season. He has started all four games for the Badgers.

Also making their Badger debuts against San Diego State (Sept. 13) were sophomore goalkeeper Jamal Habibi, who played 27 minutes in relief of an injured Alex Horwath, and sophomore forward Ross Seagram, who scored his first goal with UW in the second half.

Penalty Killers
The Badgers have gone 31 consecutive matches without being awarded a penalty kick, dating back to Oct. 13, 2007. The last time a UW player converted a penalty kick attempt into a goal was one game earlier, when Sho Fujita netted a PK in a 1-1 tie with Milwaukee on Oct. 10, 2007.

The Badgers have given up five penalty-kick goals since their last try from the penalty spot, including three game-winning scores and a game-tying goal. Two of those game-winners came in consecutive games at the hands of San Diego (Sept. 11) and San Diego State (Sept. 13).

The Badgers are 0-3-2 in the matches in which they’ve given up a PK during the streak. Here’s a breakdown of those games:

10/20/07: Penn State (1st half) -- T, 3-3 (2OT)
9/27/08: Michigan (2nd half, 00:24 left) -- T, 1-1 (2OT)
10/5/08: at Michigan State (2nd half, 6:00 left) -- L, 1-0
9/11/09: at San Diego (1st half) -- L, 3-0
9/13/09: at San Diego State (2nd OT, 00:31 left) -- L, 3-2 (2OT)

On the Board
Mark Roos’ game-winning goal in the 90th minute of the Badgers’ win over Western Illinois (Sept. 6) snapped a scoreless drought of 199 minutes, 57 seconds for the Badgers. The streak was the longest dry spell to open a season in school history.

The Badgers’ longest opening scoring drought prior to this season was 152:46, which came when UW opened the 1998 season with a 1-0 loss to Northern Illinois (9/4/98) and then scored in the 63rd minute of a 4-1 loss to Richmond (9/6/98).

Horwath Honored
Senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath posted back-to-back shutouts to open the season, blanking both Virginia Tech (Sept. 4) and Western Illinois (Sept. 6), to earn Defensive MVP honors at the Middleton Sports and Fitness Invitational.

Horwath, who has moved into fifth place on the Badgers’ all-time shutouts list with 15 for his career, was then named Big Ten Defensive Player of Week by the league for the week of Sept. 7.

Yeagley Makes Wisconsin Debut
Todd Yeagley became the fifth head coach in Wisconsin men’s soccer history when he was hired on Dec. 18, 2008. He made his head coaching debut when the Badgers took on Virginia Tech on Sept. 4, becoming the first UW head man to start his career with a tie.

Here’s a look at how UW coaches have fared in their first game at Wisconsin:

Bill Reddan (1977): W, 3-1 (at UW-Parkside)
Jim Launder (1982): L, 0-1 (vs. Cleveland State)
Kalekeni Banda (1997): W, 3-2 OT (vs. Davidson)
Jeff Rohrman (2002): W, 4-0 (vs. Iona)
Todd Yeagley (2009): T, 0-0 2OT (vs. Virginia Tech)

Reddan Heads to Hall
Wisconsin soccer pioneer Bill Reddan was among those inducted into the University of Wisconsin Athletics Hall of Fame on Sept. 4 as part of the Class of 2009.

The school’s first men’s soccer head coach, Reddan is credited with founding the UW program first as a club sport and then guiding the Badgers after the program achieved varsity status in 1977.

Reddan compiled a 49-27-9 record in his five seasons as head coach, led the Badgers to their first-ever NCAA tournament berth in 1981 and served as an assistant on UW’s 1995 NCAA championship team.

Network Connection
For the third-consecutive season, the Badgers will have at least two of their regular-season matches televised nationally by Big Ten Network. UW’s home game against defending Big Ten champion Michigan State (Oct. 11) will be carried live by the network, while the Badgers’ conference finale at Penn State (Oct. 31) will air on a tape-delay basis on Nov. 1.

Badgers Picked for Fifth
Wisconsin has been tabbed to finish in a tie for fifth place in the Big Ten Conference this season, according to the league’s annual preseason coaches’ poll. Indiana was picked to win the league, which features four teams ranked in the preseason NSCAA Top 25.

2009 Big Ten Preseason Men’s Soccer Poll
1. Indiana
2. Northwestern
3. Michigan State
4. Ohio State
5. Penn State, Wisconsin
7. Michigan

McCrudden One to ‘Keep an Eye On’
Freshman defender Kyle McCrudden has been named to College Soccer News’ annual list of ‘100 Freshman to Keep an Eye On.’ Last season, then-freshman Colin Monasterio was named to the same list and went on to earn Big Ten All-Freshman Team honors in his rookie year at UW.

Examining the Exhibitions
Wisconsin begins the regular season on the heels of a pair of exhibition contests in which it went 1-1. The Badgers opened the preseason with a 1-0 overtime win over UW-Parkside on Aug. 24 and then dropped a 2-1 decision to No. 3 Akron on Saturday (Aug. 29) at the National Soccer Festival in Fort Wayne, Ind.

Men's Soccer vs Marquette
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