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Badgers fail to finish in matchup with Huskies

first_imgDEREK MONTGOMERY/Herald photoThe struggles continued for the Wisconsin men’s soccer team (4-5-0) Wednesday night. For the second time in as many games, it was shut out 1-0, this time to Northern Illinois (6-2-1) in the wind and cold at McClimon Soccer Complex.It was the team’s third-straight loss after dropping matches with Washington and Portland last weekend.”It’s definitely the attitude. We weren’t focused tonight,” sophomore midfielder Erik Ortega said. “We came out at the beginning of the season riled up with a lot of intensity and then, today, I don’t know what it was.”While the weather and wet field may have been contributing factors, the real story remained the same question head coach Jeff Rohrman and his team have dealt with since the beginning of the year: Who is going to score goals for UW?”I said earlier in the year I wasn’t sure where goals were going to come from,” Rohrman said. “I thought we had players who were capable of it; yet, nine games into the season, we’re still searching for those answers.”Adding to those scoring frustrations was the fact that the Badgers played a solid game both in the midfield and on defense.”I thought — in terms of possession — we certainly had the better of it,” Rohrman said. “We did things well for two-thirds of the field, but in that final third, whether it was a cross or a shot that we’ve got to get on goal, we just didn’t execute.”Wisconsin wasn’t able to get anything going throughout the entire game. Its best chance came early in the first half with the game still scoreless and a chance to gain some early momentum.With the ball loose right in front of the net, B.J. Goodman fought to land a shot on goal, but NIU goalie Steve Goletz slammed the door in the scrum.The Huskies would take the lead themselves just two minutes later in the 17th minute.Forward Kevin Woerner dribbled up the right side of the field before crossing the ball into the box to Chris Rufa. Rufa fired a shot that caromed off Badger defender Hamid Afsari and over UW goalie Jake Settle’s right shoulder for what would turn out to be the only goal of the game.Wisconsin, playing into the wind for the first half, created very few opportunities the rest of the half, despite out-shooting Northern Illinois 6-4 through the first 45 minutes.The second half brought much of the same.The Badgers had an opportunity to tie the game off a corner kick in the 51st minute as Zack Lambo tried to set up Dirk Pearson with a header. Goletz made the save, giving UW another corner kick, but it could only walk away with the same result.Settle, back after missing part of last weekend with a concussion, gave up just the one goal and registered five saves.”[Settle] is real solid back there for us,” junior captain Aaron Hohlbein said. “We need to go off his saves and hopefully swing the momentum our way off those and hopefully get some goals.”The junior made one great save to keep the Badgers within striking range in the 59th minute and another with less than 19 minutes to play, but his teammates couldn’t help him out with a goal.”It’s pretty frustrating. We need to start creating more chances and putting them in the back of the net,” Hohlbein said.Part of the scoring frustrations fell within the Badgers’ set pieces. The team had 11 corner-kick opportunities to the Huskies’ zero, but not even that lopsided number made a difference.”We had our fair share of opportunities, and I thought we squandered the large majority of them,” Rohrman said. “We have to clear the wall or get the shot on goal and make things happen when [we] get those opportunities, and I didn’t think we did as good a job as we could have.”In fact, judging by the numbers — 17 Badger shots to the Huskies’ nine, five Badger shots on goal to the Huskies’ six — one would think the game might have been close, but UW never really mounted an offensive spurt.”I thought we were going to get a couple when we were down 1-0 and had a good wind out our back [in the second half],” Rohrman said. “[But] we didn’t really test them.”The Badgers start the Big Ten season with a home contest against Ohio State Sunday. The goal-scoring question may not be one that can be answered in just a few days, but the attitude and mental game can, and if the Badgers want to turn things around, that seems like a pretty good place to start.”We just have to think about the things we need to do to get a result against Ohio State: take care of our bodies, have a good training Friday and Saturday and just be ready to play on Sunday,” Hohlbein said.last_img

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