The UW mens soccer team (8-10-0, 2-4-0 Big Ten) heads to Evanston, Ill., to take on Indiana Thursday, Nov. 10 in the first round of the 2005 Big Ten Mens Soccer Tournament. Kickoff is set for 11:45 a.m. at the LBT Athletic Complex at Northwestern University.
Wisconsin finished the regular season tied for fifth in the Big Ten standings with Michigan, but due to a tie-breaker was awarded the #6 seed for the tournament. Taking on Indiana, the #3 seed, the Badgers will look at avenge the 5-2 loss earlier in the year. The Hoosiers have beaten the Badgers the last 12 games, including two Big Ten tournament games.
If the Badgers win Thursday, they will take on the winner of the Ohio State/Northwestern game in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 11 at 2:30 p.m. Earlier this year, the Badgers lost a tight overtime game vs. Ohio State and defeated Northwestern in the final game of the regular season. B.J. Goodman, Nick Caronna and Victor Diaz all scored goals for the Badgers in those games.
2003 marks the last time the Badgers won in the Big Ten tournament. The men beat Ohio State 2-0 in the first round then lost to Indiana in the semifinals. Prior to the 2003 season, the last tournament victory was in 1998 versus Michigan State as the Badgers won 2-0, followed by a 4-0 loss to Indiana.
Penn State, the regular season champions, will have a bye in the first round and play the winner of the Michigan/Michigan State game in the semifinals Friday at noon.
The Hoosiers are coming off a 1-0 overtime win over No. 1 ranked Akron in Bloomington, Ind., last week. Senior Brian Plotkin was able to score four minutes into the overtime period.
Indianas lone loss this year came to the hands of first place and undefeated Penn State. Earlier in the year, against the Badgers, the Hoosiers came out on top winning 5-2. Badger goals from Victor Diaz and Reid Johnson had the game tied at 2-2 going into the half. Not able to control the Hoosier attacks in the second half, the Badger defense conceded three goals while the offense was not able to find a goal for the entire second half.
Last year at the Big Ten tournament UW lost in the first round to Michigan State Spartans 1-0, who then went on to claim the 2004 Big Ten Tournament title and the automatic bid to the NCAA tournament.
After losing seven straight games in the span of a month, the Badgers have been able to turn the tables and win four of their last five to wrap up the regular season. Being outscored 14-4 during their losing streak, the Badgers season looked to be on the decline. After some adjustments, the team has been able to put up more goals in the last six games (15) than in the previous 12 games (11).
Wisconsin sophomore Victor Diaz leads the team in goals (7), points (16) and shots (43). Diaz has scored a goal in each of the last six Badger games. This marks the first time in over 20 years that a player has scored goals in six consecutive games.
Team captain Aaron Hohlbein is one of four players to have started in all 18 games this year. Hohlbein has recorded two goals and two assists anchoring the Badger defense.
UW goalkeeper Jake Settle has started in 16 games this year for the Badgers with a record of 7-8-0. Settle has tallied goals against average of 1.63, a .763 save percentage and three shutouts.