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Men’s soccer finishes strong but can’t overcome slow start

September 17, 2020

first_imgGREG DIXON/Herald file photoIn Sunday’s match against Northwestern, Wisconsin lost in the same fashion that has plagued it over the last month of the season.Despite a strong finish, the Badgers were unable to overcome a slow start to the game as they suffered a 2-1 loss to the Wildcats. The defeat was the fifth time in the last seven games in which the Badgers lost by one goal, and marked the fourth time in the same stretch in which Wisconsin was unable to score a goal in the first half.Northwestern showed early on why they are ranked No. 2 nationally in the NSCAA polls. Wildcats sophomore Matt Eliason, who trails Michigan State’s Doug DeMartin by one goal for the national lead in scoring, had another stellar performance against the Badgers. With 13 minutes left in the first half, Eliason was able to slip through Wisconsin’s defense, creating a 1-on-1 scoring chance against Wisconsin goalie Alex Horwath. With nobody to cover him, Eliason drilled a shot past Horwath from just inside the 18-yard box.“He’s just one of those guys that you always have to know where he is at,” Wisconsin head coach Jeff Rohrman said of Eliason. “You can’t give him that much room because he’s going to hurt you. I thought he did a great job of finishing the chances that he had today.”Although Wisconsin has been very successful this season in responding quickly to goals, the Badgers were unable to shut down Eliason in the game. Just over three minutes after scoring his first goal, Eliason tacked on his second score of the game.After receiving a pass from junior Carl Pett, Eliason was able to nail his second shot from only six yards out.“I thought the first half we made a couple of costly mistakes, and they capitalized on them,” Rohrman said. “I didn’t think we were as sharp and crisp and concentrated in the first half.”Characteristic of Wisconsin this season, the Badgers came out in the second half more aggressive and created more scoring chances. In the second half, UW took more overall shots, as well as shots on goal.Their grit was rewarded midway through the second half, when freshman Mark Roos saved a ball from going out of bounds 40 yards from the goal. Roos’ hustle paid big dividends for the Badgers, when moments later defenseman Andy Miller gave a cross pass towards a streaking Scott Lorenz. Lorenz’s header sailed past Northwestern goalie Mish Rosenthal.“Scott’s just one of those guys no matter what kind of game it is, he’s capable of putting in one or two at any moment,” Rohrman said. “It was a collective effort, and Scotty was in the right place at the right time and he took the chance well.”The score was just the third goal that Rosenthal, who came into Sunday ranked second nationally in goals against average, had given up the entire season.“We responded well once we got down two goals, and it’s a little frustrating to know to go down two,” Lorenz said. “It’s a common thing all year — we get down before we play our best with our backs against the wall, but the response was the right response.”Despite numerous attacks down the stretch, Rosenthal was able to respond with key saves. In the last great chance for the Badgers with under two minutes to play, the Wildcats’ keeper was able to stop a header from inside the 18-yard box, and Northwestern walked away with the 2-1 victory.“We threw everything we had at them, and they handled it,” Lorenz said. “We had more chances in the second half; we just couldn’t finish.”last_img

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