Despite taking a 2-0 lead in the first 10 minutes of the game, the Wisconsin mens soccer team drew even with Penn State in a 3-3 tie at University Park on Saturday night.
The Badgers (5-5-5 overall, 0-3-2 Big Ten) challenged the Nittany Lions (4-7-3, 1-1-2) from the very start when junior Victor Diaz (Madrid, Spain) scored UWs first goal 54 seconds into the game. Diaz received the ball from sophomore Brandon Miller (Vadnais Heights, Minn.) and chipped it over PSUs goalkeeper Conrad Taylor for the early lead.
Not long after, senior Nick Caronna (Brookfield, Wis.) increased Wisconsins lead with a goal in the sixth minute. Senior Dirk Pearson (South Barrington, Ill.) served the ball to Caronna on a corner kick, who found the back of the net to raise UWs lead to 2-0.
In the middle of the first half, Penn State found its momentum and regained lost ground. Jacabo Vera sparked PSUs energy in the 22nd minute, converting a penalty kick into Penn States first goal. Two minutes later, Vincent Salvatico took a shot from the right side and found the net to even the score at 2-2.
In the first 15 to 20 minutes we did really well, head coach Jeff Rohrman said after the game, but the penalty kick in the first half really gave them momentum. We need to do better at using momentum when we have it, and not giving it up.
In the beginning of the second half, Penn State pressured Wisconsin with multiple offensive attacks. In the 47th minute, Casey Derkacz headed the ball into the net off a corner kick served by teammate Barkley Miller to give the Lions their first lead at 3-2.
Wisconsin responded, and finally was able to connect for a goal in the 68th minute when the Badgers capitalized on a corner kick. Diaz placed the ball directly in front of the net where sophomore Taylor Waspi (Deer Park, Ill.) headed it in to tie the score, 3-3.
I have to give our guys a lot of credit for working their tails off and getting back into the game, Rohrman commented. Its not easy to get back into it after giving up three goals.
The second half ended in a tie, and neither team could find the net in the extra 20 minutes of overtime play.
Both goalkeepers saw significant action throughout the match. Penn States Taylor made five saves during the game, while Alex Horwath (Woodbine, Md.) made four saves and intervened to prevent numerous PSU chances at a goal despite acquiring a strained abdomen in the first half of the game.
I think to sum it up, this game had it all, Rohrman said in retrospect. I was really proud of the guys and the effort they put forth.
The Badgers will return to Madison for their second-to-last home game on Wednesday, Oct. 24 to host Oakland at the McClimon Soccer Complex. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m.