Despite sophomore Danny Ahlering's first goal of the year, the Wisconsin men's soccer team extended their winless streak to nine matches, falling 2-1 to Northern Illinois Wednesday night at the McClimon Complex.
The Badgers went into the second half tied 0-0 with the Huskies, but NIU capitalized on a chance just three minutes after halftime. A Husky shot trickled through the Badgers' penalty box and eventually found an unmarked Juan Hoyos, who put it past freshman goalkeeper Max Jentsch to give NIU a 1-0 lead.
The Huskies would maintain their lead for nearly half an hour, but Wisconsin finally broke through in the 80th minute. Motivated by an injury to junior Austin Spohn, who did not return to play following a hard tackle by an NIU player in the 75th minute, the Badgers began to put pressure on the Huskie defense. Five minutes later, Ahlering finished a rebound off the post by placing it in the lower corner of the net, tying the match at one.
Ahlering did not take much time to bask in the glory.
""Its fine but I'd rather win than score,"" Ahlering said. ""It was nice at the time, but that was about it.""
Since the remaining ten minutes went scoreless, the match proceeded into overtime. After an evening littered with slide tackles and elbows, the last of UW's 20 fouls proved to be fatal.
Following an Ahlering foul on an NIU player near midfield, the Huskies sent a ball into the Badgers' penalty box, where NIU's Tim King flicked it past Jentsch to secure the win.
Head coach John Trask said he was none too pleased with the team's effort and did not hold back as he described where his squad stands.
""We're not good enough, we're not hard enough. we're not big enough, we're not tough enough,"" Trask said. ""We're missing every single element of being a good college soccer team at this point.""
""Tonight was a character game, and to be honest, we failed,"" he added.
There was at least one bright spot in the loss, however, as Jentsch was solid in net during the second collegiate start of his career. Although senior goalie Ryan Vint was fresh off Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors and a career game—11 saves against Indiana—Trask said it was time to give the newcomer Jentsch a few starts.
""The bottom line is I need to get Max games,"" Trask said. ""We think he can be a goalkeeper of the future here.""
Sunday afternoon features a doubleheader with the men's and women's soccer teams taking on Big Ten opponents as part of the ""Pac the Mac"" promotion. The women's soccer team will play Illinois at noon, followed by the men's squad facing Michigan at 2:30 p.m.