first_imgANDREW SCHORR/Herald photoIn a game not nearly as close as the score indicated, the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team dropped its regular season finale to Drake at home, 3-1.Despite scoring first, the Badgers (9-7-2) were uncharacteristically overmatched by a Bulldogs team that could have scored more than the three goals it did.The loss not only broke a three-game win streak for the Badgers, but also marked the first time all year that UW lost by more than one goal. The 27th-ranked Bulldogs had little trouble pulling out the win, as they were aided not only by a strong 20 mph wind in the first half, but UW’s sloppy play as well.“Everything just seemed to be a split-second late, or a little bit off,” head coach Jeff Rohrman said. “It just wasn’t clicking.”Not clicking may have been an understatement.The Badgers went into halftime tied at zero, but the Bulldogs owned a seven-to-one advantage in shots during the first half. Junior keeper Alex Horwath was the sole reason UW didn’t lose by more, making several key saves to cover for his teammates’ ineffectiveness.“That’s what my job is,” Horwath said of his saves. “We didn’t come out ready today; it was a bad day for us. That’s unfortunate because this was a big game.”Drake was much quicker on and off the ball and was able to maintain possession, something Wisconsin had trouble doing. Much of the game was played in UW’s half of the field, and the Badgers could not connect on passes.Despite playing into a strong wind the first half, the Badgers showed an aversion to playing the ball on the ground and consequently found few chances to string passes together. Wisconsin finished with only four shots, a season low.“The team seemed to be a little off-kilter today,” forward Scott Lorenz said. “Not picking up second balls translated into not being able to generate any good attacking chances.”Lorenz proved to be one of the lone bright spots Wednesday night, as he scored his team-leading 10th goal in the 57th minute to give the Badgers their only lead. Senior Victor Diaz found Lorenz’s head on a service from the endline for an easy goal.“Victor served in an unbelievable ball,” Lorenz said. “I just made the run, and he found my run. … Credit Victor with everything on that — it was well done on his part.”The lead didn’t last long, however, as Drake’s Kenan Malicevic scored the first of his two goals on a volley from the top of the six-yard box in the 67th minute. Kevin Shrout put the Bulldogs ahead two minutes later on a free kick from 35 yards out.“Certainly I would have hoped for us to do a bit better with that lead, and defend a bit better down the [stretch],” Rohrman said. “Overall, it was just in bits and pieces, and it just wasn’t good enough tonight.”UW showed moments of effectiveness after Drake took the lead, but it was ultimately too little, too late. Even with the wind aiding them in the second half, the Badgers’ sloppy, slow play proved to be too much to overcome.Wisconsin has a week to try to shake off the loss before the Big Ten Tournament starts. Assured of the seventh seed after Penn State upset No. 17 Indiana, UW will face either Michigan or Northwestern in the opening round.Despite the poor performance against Drake, Rohrman is upbeat about UW’s chances in the tournament.“This one stung a bit, but I think if you look at all our games prior to this, we’ve competed very, very well,” Rohrman said. “[We’ve been] on the short end of a couple penalty kicks or overtime games. … We feel we can compete with anyone.”“We’re still confident in our abilities,” Horwath said. “We’re not afraid of anybody. If anything, maybe this will motivate us a little bit. We can’t come out and play like a youth team in the first half.”last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *