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Wednesday, December 08, 2021
Wisconsin heads to Milwaukee for Panther Classic

Taylor Waspi: Senior defenseman Taylor Waspi has four starts so far this season.

Wisconsin heads to Milwaukee for Panther Classic

The Wisconsin men's soccer team looks to right their ship this weekend after dropping a pair of contests in San Diego last weekend. For the third straight weekend, Wisconsin is competing in a three-day, four-team tournament, as they travel to Milwaukee for the UW-Milwaukee Panther Invitational.

Wisconsin (1-2-1) already faced the Panthers this season and will match up with the other two teams in the field, the Oakland Golden Grizzlies and the ninth-ranked UC-Santa Barbara Gauchos.

Wisconsin faces Oakland on Friday at 5 p.m., and conclude the weekend against Santa Barbra on Sunday at noon. Both matches are to be held at Englemann Field in Milwaukee.

The Badgers enter the weekend with a few lingering injuries and illnesses. Senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath missed part of Sunday's loss to San Diego State because of a finger injury, but is not expected to miss any more time. The team also confirmed junior defenseman Cale Cooper suffered a torn ACL last weekend and will miss the rest of the season.

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In addition, much like other athletic squads around campus, players missed time this week with flu-like symptoms. Although there have been no confirmed cases of H1N1 within the soccer team, it is difficult to predict how healthy the team will be this weekend.

""We're still battling through a few things,"" head coach Todd Yeagley said. ""It's going to be up to game time to see how some players are feeling with some sickness and injuries, but no different than a lot of games. We'll have plan A, B and C ready, and roll with the punches.""

Those punches may come early and often this weekend, as the Badgers face two very talented squads. The Golden Grizzlies of Oakland (2-2-1) were an NCAA Tournament team last year, though they lost eight starters from that squad. UC-Santa Barbara (3-1) has already scored 13 times this season with a whopping 3.25 goals per game.

""Santa Barbara, from what I have observed, may be as good as any team out there in the country, top to bottom,"" Yeagley said.

Both matchups will challenge a Badger defense that posted two shutouts opening weekend, but allowed six goals on the trip to San Diego. The defense certainly has had its issues, but senior defenseman/midfielder Taylor Waspi expressed confidence that the Badgers will bounce back, and notes that improving execution will be a key this weekend.

""[We need to focus on] details [and] having good clears,"" Waspi said. ""We missed a lot of clears in California.""

After this weekend, the Badgers return to Madison for their Big Ten opener Sept. 25 against Indiana. The fact that the Badgers play the Hoosiers only enhances the excitement of conference play starting.

Yeagley played collegiate soccer in Bloomington, where he was a four-time All-American. His father, Jerry, coached at Indiana and holds the NCAA record for coaching wins in men's soccer.

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