The Badgers (3-2-2 Big Ten, 8-3-3 overall) spent their Friday evening battling the No. 7 Indiana Hoosiers (2-0-5 Big Ten, 8-1-6 overall) to a 0-0 tie with both teams in a tug-of-war all night for an offensive advantage.
The Badger faithful turned out in huge numbers at McClimon, registering over 1,800 in attendance. The high attendance was part free scarves, part free t-shirts from “The Colony,” part a result of the high-level match the game was destined to be.
In the ninth minute, junior forward Tom Barlow almost scored for a boost of early momentum, but Indiana’s senior keeper Christian Lomeli snuffed out the threat. That turned out to be the theme of the game for the Badgers: always threatening, but never able to put it all together.
Junior forward Christopher Mueller was the go-to option for the Badgers all night. Whether it was zig-zagging defenders out of their shoes, or putting his team in position to score off set-pieces, the forward was all over the pitch Friday night.
But the Hoosiers’ defense stood its ground and never faltered, pestering the offense all game. On the defensive side for Wisconsin, the unit was relentless in not letting the Hoosiers score. A huge part of that effort was junior goalkeeper Philipp Schilling.
“We’re confident, even though they’re the ranked team, we’re not, that we can go toe-to-toe,” said Schilling.
The two teams went toe-to-toe in the first half as both teams put up zeroes.
The second half came with more chances, but still no goal for either side. The best scoring opportunities of the night for the Badgers came in the last 10 minutes, as Mueller found himself in the thick of it again. The forward almost connected on his signature free-kick, but it came in just too high as it rebounded off the crossbar and was cleared away.
Five minutes later, the last threat of regulation from Mueller came in the form of a bending strike that almost found its way in the net, but once again was just off.
After battling all night, it seemed destined that overtime would decide the winner.
But neither team could find the net, with Schilling laying his body out after every close shot for the Hoosiers.
“0-0 is...probably the worst score to go into overtime with,” said Schilling. “With strong defensive performance, we could fight through it.”
The Hoosiers found themselves threatening for the duration of both overtimes, as they earned four corners alone in the second overtime.
“You can have a tactic and a structure in the game, and then a soccer game breaks out,” Schilling said.
The Badger held a top-ten team in the nation to zero goals, but will certainly kick themselves for not earning a win, instead settling for a draw.
“One day maybe we will [beat] a ranked team,” said Schilling.
Wisconsin now has notable draws against No. 20 Michigan State and this No. 7 Indiana team, as well as fighting until the very end against No. 1 Maryland last week.
Coach Trask’s squad has improved mightily, and with the season soon coming to a close, Wisconsin could be poised to make noise come conference tournament time.