Badgers settle for tie in sloppy affair with Michigan State

Wisconsin looks to extend its Big Ten Tournament run with a win over Maryland this Sunday. 

Image By: Brandon Moe

Wisconsin Badgers men’s soccer (3-1-1 Big Ten, 7-2-3 overall) may have kept its 20-game home-unbeaten streak in tact Saturday night, but it didn’t do enough to beat the Michigan State Spartans (3-0-2, 9-1-2), and instead settled with a sloppy 1-1 overtime draw.

The Badgers struck first with a goal by senior forward Chris Mueller. After tackling the ball in midfield, Mueller darted across the field. The playmaker passed to senior forward Tom Barlow whose shot was blocked by the keeper. Mueller pounced on the loose ball and finished off the nice move in the eighth minute for his sixth goal of the season, tied for the lead in the Big Ten.

Michigan State came into the game ranked number one in various national polls, and proved why after the opening goal. The Spartans had seven corners, and were a constant threat throughout the night. Early in the game, junior defender John Freitag had a chance off a corner blocked. Moments later in the 21st minute, Wisconsin sophomore defender Elan Koenig was forced to clear a cross by Spartans junior forward DeJuan Jones over the crossbar. The Badgers were on the back foot for much of the half, but still led 1-0 at the break.

Wisconsin performed better after the start of the second half. After an early MSU shot by junior forward Hunter Barone was blocked by senior defender Alex Masbruch, Wisconsin got more into the game thanks to more extended possessions.

The best chance to extend the lead game in the 55th minute, as Barlow held up a long pass. The tall forward found senior forward Mark Segbers, who burst into the Spartan defense, reaching the top of the box before he passed the ball out to the left to Chris Mueller. Mueller cut inside, and tried the shot, but he couldn’t put enough power behind the ball, as Spartan senior goalkeeper Jimmy Hague welcomed it into his arms. Mueller was the star man on the night for the Badgers, but couldn’t spark the attack to breakthrough again.

And that lack of insurance would prove costly. In the 60th minute, DeJuan Jones tied it up for the Spartans as he put a delicate chip over senior goalkeeper Philipp Schilling’s head. Jones was always a threat for MSU, and his answer electrified the Michigan State bench.

After the equalizer, the game got sloppier and chippier thanks to the worsening weather conditions. The wind was whipping all game, but intensified as the first 90 minutes ended. And while there was a light mist at the start of the half, after the goal it started to pour. Players were slipping, long balls were getting caught in the wind and errors became common on both sides.

At full time, the game was forced to continue thanks to the level scoreline. The conditions turned miserable at the start of the overtime, and there were few solid offensive chances.

As the final whistle blew, it looked like both teams were relieved to get off the torn-up, soggy field, and fine with the result. The Badgers’ home-unbeaten streak is alive, and they put up a great fight against a top 10 team. Head coach John Trask still rues not putting away the Spartans.

“We couldn't find the game-winner tonight,” Trask said. “We have to find a game-winner with five seniors on the field if we expect to do something this season."

The Badgers will be back out on Tuesday night against Green Bay.

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