Men’s soccer falls to Northern Illinois

first_imgDefenseman Eric Conklin couldn\’t stop the Huskies from ending the Badgers\’ shutout streak last night.[/media-credit]It was a tense and physical game at McClimon Soccer Complex Wednesday night as the UW men’s soccer team played its final home game of the regular season. Although the Badgers literally struck first blood, it was the Northern Illinois Huskies who walked away with the 1-0 win.The game started off quickly with both teams creating multiple threats to score throughout the first half. As the clock ticked, the game became increasingly physical, and in the 17th minute, Wisconsin midfielder Brandon Miller drew the game’s only yellow card. Although it was the game’s lone caution, the match ended with a total of 11 fouls and several injuries.The first major injury occurred when Badger forward Ata Ozbay struck heads with Huskies defenseman Tim King, causing King to bleed substantially. From there the game only became more intense and physical, but the Badgers and head coach Todd Yeagley anticipated the Huskies rough style of play.“Yeah we expected it to be physical,” Yeagley said. “That’s a big part of Northern’s strength is their physical play.”Despite the intense defense that continued throughout the second half, the Huskies finally took advantage of a scoring opportunity late in the game. In the 85th minute, forward Juan Hoyos found the back of the net for the first time of the night, putting the Huskies ahead 1-0 with only five minutes left for the Badgers to respond.“It was one that a better decision on a clearing situation maybe [wouldn’t have] put ourselves in that predicament,” Yeagley said. “The kid did a nice job of putting it away.”Regardless of the physical defensive fight that dominated the game, it was still a disappointing blow for the Badgers to lose in the final minutes of their last regular season home game. The team had hoped to continue its winning streak and end its home season on a good note.“We said before the game that we’d love to have seniors go out on a real positive note for the last regular season home game and play with a lot of pride and have our young guys give a performance they’ll remember,” Yeagley said. “Some days it’s not there, and it was one of those days.”Senior defenseman Eric Conklin expressed similar feelings but knew he and the Badgers fell short of their goal.“Obviously we wanted to come out with a win,” Conklin said. “We put it all on the field. I thought we dominated chances offensively. It’s too bad we couldn’t come away with the [win].”Although the loss was upsetting, Yeagley is not concerned about his team’s ability to rebound from the defeat. He believes his squad underperformed and couldn’t find its stride against NIU.“We just didn’t perform well today,” Yeagley said. “We can’t afford to have that many players tonight not be near their best and that’s what happened. It was a game where we couldn’t find rhythm. I thought we were slow in transition, not sharp offensively and certainly didn’t give them many chances, but I just felt this game was one that we just didn’t bring the game that we had been bringing the last five or six and before that. … I’m not concerned because I know what we still have to play for in this team. We have had too many good things that we can draw upon to regroup for Saturday for a chance to win a Big Ten championship.”Despite suffering a tough loss, the Badgers are now getting ready for Saturday’s game at Penn State and are hopeful to win a Big Ten regular season title.“Once we leave the field here its full-tilt, getting ready for a crucial Big Ten game on Saturday,” Yeagley said. “We’re a confident group. We know Penn State’s strengths and weaknesses and [to] go in and play with confidence, it’s still our game. Tonight I thought we were passive and our team needs to be the aggressor. I’m confident we can do that at Penn State on Saturday.”last_img

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