Stakes high for Badgers in regular-season finale


ON WISCONSIN <b>Colin Mani and the Badgers head into their final regular-season match in need of a win</b>
ON WISCONSIN
Colin Mani and the Badgers head into their final regular-season match in need of a win
ON WISCONSIN

Nov. 3, 2009

MADISON, Wis. -- The Wisconsin men’s soccer team closes out the 2009 regular season Thursday with a non-conference matchup against in-state rival Milwaukee (3-11-2) at Engelmann Field.

The Badgers (6-8-2), who have lost two straight after putting together three consecutive wins, come into their season finale in need of a win to keep their chances for an NCAA tournament bid alive.

The Badgers stand 33rd in the latest Ratings Percentage Index released by the NCAA, but teams must possess a record of .500 or better to be considered for an at-large berth to the tournament.

 Game 17  |  Wisconsin (6-8-2) vs. Milwaukee (3-11-2) 
 Date  Thursday, Nov. 5  |  7 p.m.
 Location  Milwaukee, Wis.  |  Englemann Field
 Tickets  $5 adults / $3 youth
 UWBadgers.com  GameTracker  |  Live Gameday Blog
 All-Time Series  Milwaukee leads, 13-12-6

Wisconsin
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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.

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 Looking Back

Penn State scored a penalty-kick goal with just 12 seconds remaining in the first half and then added another score in the 78th minute to score a 2-1 win and relegate the Badgers to a tie for second in the Big Ten standings. Junior Jon Rzepka scored his second career goal for the Badgers in the 81st minute, but UW could not deliver the equalizer.

 

 Noteworthy

Saturday’s 2-1 loss to Penn State snapped the Badgers’ three-game conference win streak and dropped UW out of the top of the Big Ten standings, eliminating the Badgers from contention for the regular-season conference title.

The Badgers finished 3-3 in Big Ten play, their first season with there league wins since going 3-2-1 in 2006. Wisconsin has tallied three Big Ten wins in five of the 10 seasons since 2000.

While Wisconsin has concluded Big Ten play, all five of the teams tied with, or trailing, the Badgers in the standings have a league game remaining.

Depending on results of the season’s final three matches (Penn State-Indiana, Michigan-Ohio State and Michigan State-Northwestern), the Badgers likely will be seeded between No. 3 and No. 5 for the upcoming Big Ten tournament.

Of Wisconsin’s eight losses on the season, five have come by a one-goal margin, including each of the Badgers’ last three defeats.

With his goal Saturday, junior midfielder Jon Rzepka became the fifth UW player to tally multiple goals this season.

Both of Rzepka’s career scores have come in the Badgers’ last four games.

The Badgers are unbeaten in their last three meetings with Milwaukee and 3-1-2 in their last six matchups with the Panthers, including a 1-1-1 mark in games played in Milwaukee.

 

 Scouting the Opponent: Milwaukee

The Panthers enter Thursday’s match mired in a four-game losing streak in which they have been outscored by a 9-1 margin. Three of those losses have come against opponents Wisconsin also has fallen to this season — UIC, Northern Illinois and Green Bay.

After beginning the season 1-7 through their first eight matches — with the lone win coming against Western Illinois in Madison on Sept. 4 — the Panthers managed a four-game unbeaten streak from Sept. 27 to Oct. 10.

Since then, however, Milwaukee has dropped four straight, including three shutouts and a 5-1 loss at the hands of Northern Illinois.

Thursday’s will be just the third non-conference home game for Milwaukee, which has yet to win at Engelmann Field in a non-league game (0-2).

The Panthers have scored a total of 12 goals in 16 games on the year, with half that total coming in three multiple-goal games.

Four players have each tallied a pair of goals to lead Milwaukee’s offense, with Greg Rosenthal, Ross Van Osdol and Cody Banks each contributing six points for the Panthers.

John Shakon has played every minute of the season in goal for Milwaukee, allowing 25 goals in 16 games for a 1.52 goals-against average. All three of Shakon’s wins, however, have come by shutout.

 

 About the Series

The Badgers and Panthers will meet for the 32nd time since Wisconsin made the jump to varsity competition in 1977, and a win by the Badgers would even the teams’ all-time series. Milwaukee currently leads the series, 13-12-6.

Wisconsin has won three of the teams’ last six meetings, including a 4-0 win last season at the McClimon Complex that snapped a three-match winless streak for UW against the Panthers.

The Badgers are 3-8-5 all-time against UWM in games played in Milwaukee and seek their first win over the Panthers on their home field sinec 2003.

Thanks to 19 appearances in Milwaukee’s annual Panther Classic, the Badgers have played 49 games at Engelmann Field and own a record of 27-16-6 (.612) at the facility.

Jon Coleman is in his fourth season as head coach at Milwaukee and has yet to record a win over the Badgers, going 0-1-2 in his first three meetings with Wisconsin.

UW’s Todd Yeagley, in his first season, will face the Panthers for the first time as a head coach. During his playing days at Indiana, from 1991-94, the Hoosiers posted a 2-0-1 record against Milwaukee. 

Last Meeting
Oct. 8, 2008 -- Four first-period goals helped the Badgers put a convincing end to their five-game winless streak with a 4-0 shutout of Milwaukee at the McClimon Complex. Scott Lorenz had a pair of goals to lead the way for the UW, while freshmen Colin Monasterio and Cale Cooper each tallied the first scores of the collegiate careers.

 

 Badgers Notes

Moving On Up
Wisconsin jumped a staggering 57 spots in the latest Ratings Percentage Index, released Tuesday by the NCAA. The Badgers moved from 90th all the way to 33rd in the RPI, which is a primary tool for the determination of at-large bids for the NCAA tournament.

The Badgers’ 57-place jump was the third-largest of any team, trailing only Sacramento State, which improved 78 spots (92 from 170) and Missouri State, which jumped 63 spots (39 from 102).

The Badgers finished 39th in the final RPI of 2008 after posting a 9-7-3 record but were not selected to the NCAA tournament.

Who Knew?

Wisconsin and Penn State sit first and second in the Big Ten standings entering this weekend’s games.

Prior to the season, the Badgers and Nittany Lions were projected for a fifth-place tie in a vote of conference coaches.

Setting the Scenarios
The Badgers own a two-point lead over Penn State in the Big Ten standings entering the weekend, but much is left to be decided over the final two weekends of the season.

If they can earn a win over Penn State, the Badgers can clinch the title this weekend with a loss or tie by Indiana AND a loss or tie by Northwestern. Both teams have two conference games remaining.

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) was 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.

The Badgers picked up their first-ever win in a BTN-televised game when they downed the Spartans, 2-1, on Oct. 11.

Tale of Two Halves
After a brutal finish to the first half of the Badgers’ regular season that saw the team lose three straight by a combined score of 7-0, the UW coaching staff emphasized the importance of starting strong in the season’s second half.

Consecutive shutout losses to Indiana, UIC and Michigan — the program’s first three-game shutout streak since 1997 — dropped the Badgers to 2-5-2 after nine games.

The results have been clear since the second half started, as the Badgers are 4-2 over their last six games, including 3-0 in Big Ten play.

An End to the Drought

After scoring just five goals in their first nine games — and being shut out in five of those contests — the Badgers have scored 13 goals over their past six contests. That includes four of the team’s five multiple-goal games this season.

Tournament-Tough Schedule
In its first 14 games, Wisconsin faced eight teams that qualified for the 2008 NCAA Tournament, with the Badgers posting a 4-3-1 record against those opponents

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 went 36 consecutive matches without being awarded a penalty kick before they were granted a PK chance against Northwestern on Oct. 16, a streak dating back to Oct. 13, 2007.

Senior Eric Conklin made the most of the Badgers’ opportunity by drilling the game-winning goal five minutes into overtime to give the Badgers a 2-1 win over the Wildcats.

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 had given up seven penalty-kick goals since their last try from the penalty spot, including four game-winning scores and a game-tying goal.

The Badgers went 0-4-2 in the matches in which they gave 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)
9/30/09: at UIC (1st half: 25th min.; 34th min.) -- L, 3-0

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.

Todd Yeagley


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.

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.

Rankings
NSCAA/adidas Top 25
College Soccer News Top 30
SoccerTimes.com Top 25

Standings
Big Ten Conference standings

Links
Big Ten Conference
NCAA Men's Soccer
Big Ten Network
College Soccer News
Soccer America
National Soccer Coaches Association of America

ON WISCONSIN
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