With the Big Ten Championship rapidly approaching, the Wisconsin mens soccer team defeated conference opponent Michigan State 2-1 Sunday to snap the Badgers recent losing streak. Sophomore Nick Van Sicklen and true freshman Phil Doeh scored a goal a piece to lead the Badgers over the Spartans.
It was a game of two halves today, Wisconsin head coach Jeff Rohrman said. We played better in the first period, creating good chances and finding our forwards. Our forwards were dangerous. Eric Hanson also made some big plays to keep us in the game and we dictated the flow of the game.
It was certainly one of the better halves we have played in a couple of weeks, he added, But, in the second half, Michigan State clearly outplayed us. We knew we had to gut it out, roll up our sleeves and get the win.
The Badgers took control of the game in the first period and Van Sicklen, Wisconsins leading scorer, picked off a pass between two Spartan players to create UWs first goal. The Madison native raced towards the MSU net and slotted the ball on the run to beat State keeper Tyler Robinson to the far right for the 1-0 lead in the 18th minute.
Wisconsin increased its lead off of a Badger free kick in the 30th minute. Van Sicklen served the ball towards the right near post where Doeh beat Robinson on a header to the back post of the Spartan net. The goal was Doehs fifth of the season and UW entered the halftime break leading 2-0 with both teams registering seven shots a piece.
However, the second period proved almost fatal to the Badgers if not for their stingy defense. Michigan State broke the shutout on a goal by Nick DeGraw at 71:35 with assists by Kevin Wittig and Kellen Kalso, while MSU outshot UW 12-2 in the period.
Rohrman credits Wisconsins two center backs, John McGrady and C.J. Lipinski, and netminder Hanson for preserving the win. Playing without defenseman Joe Anderson, the Badgers moved Lipinski, a true freshman, to the back line to play alongside senior co-captain McGrady.
In total, UW keeper Hanson pulled in seven saves to help the Badgers, while Robinson collected three saves for the Wolverines. The UW team was credited with one save.
Wisconsin, now 8-8-0 and 2-3 in the Big Ten, returns home this weekend to host conference opponent Northwestern on Saturday, Nov. 2 at 1 p.m. at the McClimon Soccer Complex. The game marks the Badgers last home game of the regular season, before wrapping up the season on the road Nov. 9 against Marquette in Milwaukee, Wis.
Looking ahead, Wisconsin travels to the 2002 Big Ten Championship tournament, hosted by Penn State, Nov. 14-17.