Following the Badger's (0-3-1 Big Ten, 2-11-2 overall) 2-0 shutout of UW-Milwaukee Wednesday night, Wisconsin head coach John Trask had this prediction for Saturday night's match at No. 25 Ohio State.
""We're gonna knock ‘em off like the football team did.""
To defeat the Buckeyes (2-2-0, 8-5-2), the Badgers will have to conjure at least a little bit of the magic the football had when they took down then-No. 1 Ohio State at Camp Randall Stadium. Although Wisconsin is brimming with confidence after its first victory in nearly two months, the Buckeyes present a much bigger challenge than the Panthers did.
Senior forward Bryan Gerster, who tallied two assists against Milwaukee, hopes Wisconsin can ride the momentum from Wednesday's victory and steal a win at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium.
""We always play well against Ohio State, so hopefully we can carry this momentum into there,"" Gerster said. ""I think we're going to come out pretty good against Ohio State.""
The Buckeyes have plenty of firepower and are capable of ending Wisconsin's bid to double their shutout streak. Senior Konrad Warzycha leads Ohio State with 12 points off six goals, and he is complemented by sophomores midfielders Chris Hegngi and Austin McAnena, who both have nine points on three goals and three assists.
Knowing the Buckeyes have an abundance of offensive weapons, Gerster says the team has to buckle down on defense.
""We need to clean up the mistakes in the back,"" Gerster said. ""With the shifted formation we still have a lot to learn back there.""
Freshman Nick Janus, who scored his first collegiate goal Wednesday against the Panthers, said the team's defense will continue to improve with time and progressive adjustment to the 4-4-2 formation.
But while the defensive side of the ball has struggled for the most part with the new formation, the offense has transformed from a liability into a juggernaut, scoring more goals in the past three games (eight) than it had the previous 12 (seven). Gerster said the formation change has caught a lot of opponents off guard.
""On the scouting report it says we are in a 4-5-1, so a lot of teams haven't seen the new formation and aren't prepared for that,"" Gerster said.
Following their road trip to Ohio State, Wisconsin will return to Madison to host the University of Illinois-Chicago on November 3rd at the McClimon Complex.