Strong second half not enough; UW draws with Red Storm

first_imgOn a windy night at McClimon Soccer Complex, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team’s match against St. John’s University ended in a 1-1 draw after 20 minutes of extra time.The tie ended a three-match losing skid the Badgers have suffered over the past couple of weeks, but it still isn’t as satisfying as a victory, especially with how strong the team played on both sides of the ball throughout Friday’s match, according to head coach John Trask.“It’s tough,” Trask said. “We gave up a soft goal in the first half. But I told the guys at halftime, other than that play, it was the most complete half we played from a coach’s standpoint. We were playing to our strengths and we were solid defensively.”For most of the first half, UW was solid on defense. Their only breakdown was in the 41st minute following a free kick, when after a save, St. John’s redshirt junior goalkeeper Jordan Stagmiller punted a ball to freshman midfielder Mohamed Awad on the run. Awad struck the ball into the back of the net once he was one-on-one with redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Casey Beyers.But, to say Wisconsin was solid on the defensive side of the ball in the second half would be a huge understatement.After giving up four shots on goal in the first half, the Badgers picked up their defensive effort in the second and didn’t allow St. John’s a single shot on goal for the next 45 minutes.Senior defender David Caban and the rest of the Badger backline kept the Red Storm in check down the stretch.“Obviously with the exception of the big ball that they scored on, it was probably the best all season we played in the back,” Caban said. “If we could erase that one mistake, it would probably be near perfect. But that happens in games and we picked each other up and got the tying goal.”That tying goal came in the 48th minute from freshman midfielder Mike Catalano. Freshman forward Tom Barlow crossed a beautiful ball to the far post, where it found Catalano’s head and the back of the net. The match was tied from then on till the final whistle blew.“I just saw Tom out there and usually he takes it in,” Catalano said. “But this time he picked his head up so I just took it as a cue to get in the box, and every time you get in the box, good things tend to happen. The ball just came right to my head.”The goal was Catalano’s second of the season and was the only goal to come out of 10 second-half shots for the Badgers. The goal also makes Catalano the third player on the team to have multiple goals this season along with fellow freshmen Barlow and forward Mark Segbers.A big reason as to why Wisconsin created so many opportunities offensively in the second half was because they had the wind at their backs, as the conditions had a large effect on the match. The team took advantage of the conditions in the second half and played intelligently.“You have to pick and choose the right time to go,” Catalano said. “You can’t be running around like crazy. You have to conserve the energy and play smart. You can’t work extremely hard throughout the game. [You] really need to pick your times in these conditions.”With their losing streak snapped, the Badgers can attempt to get back on a winning track, something they haven’t yet been on for more than one game this year.With that said, positive decisions won’t only benefit the team’s resume; they will also help bring fans to the game, which coach Trask and the rest of the team are longing for at McClimon.Going back to last year, Wisconsin had a 14-match home unbeaten streak going and the student fans, now referred to as “the Colony,” are going to play a huge role in the team getting back to that level of home success.“With the Colony and all the students here, there was an opportunity for us to show off,” coach Trask said. “And you saw it on the first goal; they’re waiting. We’ve got enough people in this stadium now and they are waiting for real good things to happen. Hopefully they continue coming out. They’re a big part of what we are trying to do right now.”The Colony will have to wait before they again make their presence known at McClimon, as the Badgers hit the road to the east coast where they will take on another new member of the Big Ten in Maryland next Friday.last_img

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