Rivals play to tie in rain

first_imgHaving a “bounce go your way” can often be the most important spark in a close rivalry game. On the same account, a bounce can easily go the other way and cost your team a victory. For the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team, as well as its opponents, the Marquette Golden Eagles, Wednesday night’s downpour gave both teams plenty of bounces — but rarely a chance to finish them — in a wild double-overtime thriller that concluded in a 1-1 tie.”As the field got wetter, it seemed to play more to their advantage because our balls in behind their defense weren’t as effective. They would roll right out of bounds or to the keeper,” rain-soaked sophomore forward Brandon Miller said after the game. “That ball was just sliding all over the place. It was hard to get the ball where we want it, down by our feet where it can be controlled. It’s always tough to play on a surface this slick and fast.”Despite the draw, bringing the Badgers’ record to 5-5-4, the offense once again looked much more in sync as, for the second game in a row, they were able score the game’s first goal. Junior midfielder Victor Diaz added to his team-leading ten points with a dazzling assist to senior Erik Ortega just 9:33 into the game. With the ball in the left corner close to the 18-yard box, Diaz placed the ball right on the head of a cutting Ortega, who flicked the ball in past Marquette goalie Matt Pyzdrowski.”[That first goal] meant a lot, especially since we have struggled create some really good chances on offense,” Ortega said of his tally, the first of the season for him. “We’ve always had really good buildup, but for some reason we haven’t been able to capitalize. “That goal was good for us because we need to get that early goal to give us confidence.”The rest of the half featured more chances from the Badger offensive lineup that included three forwards — Diaz, Miller and Ortega. Those three alone out-shot the entire Marquette team in the first half, as the forwards combined for seven shots — two on goal — compared to the two from the Golden Eagles.Badger head coach Jeff Rohrman thought the offensive pressure was very good, even though they only tallied one goal. “We did a lot of good work going forward, and we just were not able to reward ourselves for that in terms of putting the ball in the net,” Rohrman said. “At the end of the day, it’s a game where all of our guys walk out of this knowing that maybe we let one get away. We had four, five, maybe six chances in the 6-yard box that we just didn’t convert on.”Wisconsin, with its one-goal lead, came out of the locker room looking to start the second half on the same note it started the game with, but the players were met right away by a motivated Golden Eagles squad that aimed to slow down the Badgers.”We struggled a bit at the beginning of the second half,” Ortega said. “We went away from what we were doing in the first half and tried to push it too much. It wasn’t until late in the second half that we finally slowed the game down.”The rain, which had been sprinkling since the opening whistle, finally started to come down a couple of minutes into that second half, bringing with it a much faster field of play, something that in turn turned up the dial on an already intense game. Ortega, unlike Miller, was quick to say that he believed the rain “played to his advantages” on the field, making for a faster-paced game.”I enjoy playing in the rain. The ball skips a little bit, but I think the ball passes a little truer than normal,” the senior said.Badger goalkeeper Alex Horwath certainly didn’t enjoy the new bounces the ball was taking. A tricky bounce on a cross in the 73rd minute guided the ball past the sprawled-out sophomore and right to Marquette forward Nick Kay, who finally capitalized on his seventh shot of the night, putting the ball into the far side netting.Following Kay’s goal, the game got increasingly more physical as the rain continued to pour down. With four minutes to go in the second overtime, the referee finally called a storm delay, postponing the game for half an hour and subsequently putting a halt on the momentum of either team. When the teams finally did return to the field, neither seemed able to regain its form, and the game came to a close, nearly an hour after it was scheduled to originally end.last_img read more

Read More →