The Wisconsin men's soccer team is peaking at the right time.
With their season on line, the Badgers advanced to the second round of the Big Ten Tournament after downing the defending Big Ten champion Ohio State 5-4 in penalty kicks.
Wisconsin (1-4-1 Big Ten, 4-12-3 overall), the No. 7 seed in the Tournament, and No. 2 Ohio State went back-and-forth for the first three shots in the shootout with all three players from each team converting. The Buckeyes' fourth shooter, Austin McAnena, missed his kick, and Wisconsin freshman Chris Prince put the Badgers up 4-3 after scoring his. Both teams went on to convert their last shots, with junior Arnel Zahirovic securing the win for the Badgers.
On paper, it appeared as if Wisconsin stole a win at Penn State's Jeffrey Field on Thursday afternoon. Ohio State held an absurd 30-5 shot advantage over Wisconsin through 110 minutes of play, including 11-1 in shots on goal.
But Wisconsin freshman goalkeeper Max Jentsch held off the imposing Ohio State attack by posting a career-high 11 saves in the match. After 110 minutes of scoreless play, Jentsch has now played nearly six hours without giving up a goal. And after a couple of rough matches to start his season, the Hartland, WI native now boasts a 3-5-1 record with four shutouts.
The triumph over the Buckeyes is just the latest installment in Wisconsin's late-season turnaround. After a disastrous 2-12-2 start to their 2010 campaign, the postseason outlook for Wisconsin was bleak. But two straight wins, including a 1-0 decision over then-No. 22 Penn State, gave the Badgers an air of confidence they have brought into the Big Ten Tournament.
Wisconsin advances to the second round of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 2003, and now faces No. 3 seed Michigan on Friday at noon.
—UWBadgers.com contributed to this report.