It has been 34 days since the Wisconsin men's soccer team has won a game.
During that span, the Badgers have gone 0-7-2, have not scored in over half of those games and have been unable to muster more than one goal in a match since their 2-1 victory over Santa Clara Sept. 4.
Come Sunday, Wisconsin faces a tough Michigan team that recently defeated then-No. 24 Penn State and has a potent offense that is sure to keep the Wisconsin defense on edge. Although UW head coach John Trask described the Wolverines' offense as balanced, one player on Michigan sticks out: Freshman forward Soony Saad. To put things into perspective, Saad has scored seven goals this season, compared to the entire Badgers lineup combined, which has scored six.
As a result, Trask sees Michigan's attack as a huge test for his squad.
""They are a very dangerous attacking team,"" Trask said. ""They're going to come in here and they're going to give us everything we can handle.""
The Badgers are counting on senior goalkeeper Ryan Vint to fend off the Michigan offense. Vint is back in action after Trask decided to start freshman Max Jentsch in goal for Wisconsin's 2-1 overtime loss to Northern Illinois Wednesday. For those wondering why Vint was not in net after his career game against Indiana, which earned him Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors, Trask said his choice to give Jentsch the nod over Vint was based on where the team stands now.
""We have to look to the future,"" Trask said. ""We have to continue to identify guys for the future that can help us play and, him [Vint] being a fifth year senior, we have to have somebody ready to go.""
Jentsch happily accepts the playing time, but says the offbeat rotation has not allowed him to get into a groove yet this year.
""It makes me feel like the coaches have confidence in me,"" Jentsch said. ""It kind of throws off my rhythm; it feels like a new season every game.""
To notch their second victory of the season, Wisconsin must continue to improve in the offensive third. Aside from redshirt sophomore Danny Ahlering's goal, the Badgers were unable to create more than a few scoring opportunities against NIU. That must change against Michigan, a squad that is coming off a two-game winning streak in which they have outscored opponents 4-1.
Sunday's contest is part of PAC the MAC, which features a doubleheader with both the men's and women's teams playing Big Ten opponents. The women's side will face Illinois at noon, followed by the men's team at 2:30 p.m. As part of the promotion, admission for UW students is free with student ID.