Early goal, stout defense paves the way for Wisconsin win

first_imgAn early goal from freshman Tom Barlow gave the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team the spark it needed to win against Green Bay Tuesday night.Barlow’s goal in the 22nd minute from teammate Mark Segbers was the first early goal for the Badgers in well over two weeks.With Barlow scoring an early goal in the match, Wisconsin was able to control many aspects of the game and keep attacking the Phoenix.“We are in control of the game, so we can do what we want and play how we want,” Barlow said. “It’s a big advantage, we just have to make sure we keep the lead.”Even after scoring the goal, Wisconsin head coach John Trask said he still wanted to see more out of his team.“It’s nice to see that they respond to some motivation,” Trask said. “On game day, I’ve been pretty understanding of what we’ve been going through. Today, I let them have it a little bit at halftime, and compliments to them, I thought they all picked it up.”With the entire team excited about the early goal, the Badgers played an overall better game, especially in the second half.“We kept our discipline. We didn’t just start fouling them and giving them more chances, but usually that’s what you see in a college soccer game,” Trask said. “When one team has the 1-0 lead, the other team all of the sudden gets real aggressive, and sometimes the momentum can switch.”Keeping the lead has been a big challenge for the Badgers this season, as they have conceded goals quickly after scoring goals of their own against Michigan and Rutgers. Allowing a quick response to a goal can greatly shift the momentum of the match, as seen against Michigan and Rutgers  — games that UW ended up losing.Because of games like that, the Badgers have been working on drills where they have to keep the lead without fouling the opposing players.“One of the things that was one of our weaknesses early in the year was giving up the late goal,” Segbers said. “Finally, everyone was tuned in and we kept each other accountable, and we kept the 1-0 lead.”They avoided that weakness by consistently attacking throughout the second half, and the pressure in Green Bay’s half of the field allowed them to dominate time of possession in the second half.Trask was also able to seamlessly get a few new players into the mix at halftime, which kept other players fresh while still playing a strong game.“I always felt that as the game wore on, especially in the second half, we looked like the more likely team to get the second [goal],” Trask said.Freshman goalkeeper Adrian Remeniuk also kept a clean sheet on the night, keeping the Badgers in the game from the beginning, when Green Bay was at their strongest attacking.The Badger defense played another clean game as well, allowing only three shots on goal throughout the entire match.Offensively, Wisconsin had eight shots on target, with one of those being the goal from Barlow.The team’s aggressive nature was possible in part because of the formation Green Bay played. They were in a 3-5-2, which left fewer defenders in the back, and made it easier for the connection between Segbers, Barlow, and the rest of the Badgers. Wisconsin had not played a team with that formation yet this year, which may have been the reason they felt they could consistently attack.After a rough stretch for the Badgers in which they had lost their last seven games, an early goal was exactly what they needed to get their confidence back up, especially for a young team who was looking for an early morale booster.“I think it gave us so much more confidence. We’ve been coming off some tough losses, so to jump out early and start early boosts team morale,” Segbers said.Trask said he’s happy to get out of the slump, but said he wants to see more urgency to put the opponent away by scoring that second goal. Getting another goal would put the game away and show that the Badgers played an overall solid game.“We weren’t [able to get the second goal] tonight, but that’s the continued journey these guys are on. They can be a bit more ruthless because there were some opportunities presented,” Trask said.This in-state rivalry energized the team and should propel the Badgers as they continue with Big Ten play at Michigan State on Saturday.last_img

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