The University of Wisconsin mens soccer team ended its regular season with a loss, falling to Northwestern, 2-1 in a hard-fought match on Senior Day, Sunday at McClimon Soccer Complex. The loss dropped the Badgers to 9-9-0 and 2-4-0 in the Big Ten Conference to conclude the regular season. Northwestern finished 12-4-2, and 3-2-1 in conference.
We had too many guys that either didnt bring their concentration for the full 90 minutes, or werent able to execute when we needed them to, said head coach Jeff Rohrman after the tough loss. You can maybe get by when one or two (players) have an off day but we had too many. Northwestern is a good team and they can really punish us (for that).
With less than ten minutes to play, Northwestern capitalized on a key opportunity as Brad North found teammate Kevin Earnest on the back post for what would eventually be the game-winning goal. Both teams fought hard for scoring chances in a fierce grudge match, as Wisconsin reached for the tie and NU struggled to stay in the lead.
With seconds left in the game, Sophomore Aaron Hohlbein cracked a blistering shot at Wildcat keeper Justin Pines, who managed a clutch save to preserve the victory for his team. He finished with six saves on the day.
David Martinez scored the lone goal for the Badgers on a penalty-kick after a handball was called in the box. Seniors Jed Hohlbein and Nick Van Sicklen were involved in the play that led to a scramble in the box where the infraction occurred. Martinez, Hohlbein and Van Sicklen combined for nine of the Badgers 16 shots.
Martinezs goal was the equalizer after Northwestern scored early on a fluke play. Badger goalkeeper Eric Hanson was attempting to clear a ball from the Wisconsin backfield when North sprinted in front of the kick, and the ball deflected toward the goal where North finished the play. Yet Hanson played a strong game, finishing with six saves, many of which were down the stretch to keep Wisconsin in the game.
The Badgers begin post-season play on Thursday in the 2004 Big Ten Championships in Ann Arbor, Mich. Last year the Badgers advanced past Ohio State to the semi-finals before losing to the eventual champion, Indiana, 1-0 after 80 minutes of scoreless action.
Coach Rohrman will have his Badgers ready to play come Thursday.
I think the guys just need to come out the next two days and pay attention to the little details and bring their full concentration and full work ethic, he said. Well have two good days at practice and get ourselves going in the right direction again. We had a good month here so far. Since Oct. 1 weve played quite well and there is no reason we cant get on a good run here the rest of this week.
Stay tuned to uwbadgers.com for tournament seedings, game times and results.