The Wisconsin mens soccer team concluded its season Thursday in a tight 1-0 loss to Michigan State in the first round of the Big Ten Championship in Ann Arbor, Mich. The loss set the UWs 2004 record at 9-10-0 and 2-4-0 in the Big Ten. The Spartans improved to 10-6-1 and will continue to play one-seed Indiana, Friday.
I thought we came out a little bit slow today and we depended on Eric Hanson to make a couple of big saves for us in the first half and he did, said head coach Jeff Rohrman. I thought they countered us pretty well a few times and we just werent keeping the ball as well as we demonstrated we can.
Despite a Spartan goal at 22:05 the Badger defense did a lot to stop an aggressive MSU offense. In his final game at Wisconsin, senior Hanson came up with seven big saves for the Badgers. Meanwhile, the Wisconsin backfield kept the ball moving and deterred four other shots from hitting on goal.
I thought in the second half we played much better, just the technical level we were playing at, the concentration and just keeping the ball overall was much better, said Rohrman . Unfortunately, we just couldnt get that goal. I think we created a couple of good chances, yet we couldnt find the frame.
On the attack, the Badgers presented several scoring opportunities but with just two shots on goal were unable to finish any of their chances.
With the loss, the Badgers say goodbye to five seniors. The core of the Wisconsin team, the contributions of each athlete is tangible. Coach Rohrman had this to say about those graduating.
As I told the guys, these five seniors have invested so much into the program and really raised us to a level that they can be very proud of, said Rohrman. Theyve laid tremendous groundwork for the young guys to continue. Theyre going to be missed. They all bring wonderful qualities and have each left their impression on the program.
Hanson, senior and tri-captain reflected on the game, his career at Wisconsin and the future.
It was a good game, commented Hanson. Its not a great last game to have, but Im glad to have played well. Its just sad sitting in the tent, all five of us looking at each other knowing that it was the last time that we were going to play together. The team will be alright, but Im going to miss them. I want to try to play somewhere and well see what happens now, but Ive had a blast.
Rohrman stressed the teams need to start looking ahead and preparing for next season.
Our mind has to be in preseason mode starting tomorrow, said Rohrman. Its not going to happen if we start thinking about it on August 1, or March 1. Its got to happen tomorrow and its going to take everyone whos coming back to really commit to getting better through the winter and taking their game up a couple notches through the spring as well.