The Badgers (3-1-1 conference, 6-2-2 overall) marched into East Lansing looking for yet another upset of a higher ranked Michigan State Spartans (3-1-1, 8-2-1) team—this time on the pitch.
After coming through with three straight shutout wins, the UW defense gave up its first goal in almost two weeks. However, the Badgers saw their early offensive attacks that have proved vital over the past 3 games return, drawing first blood and piercing the armor of the Spartans’ defense.
After a corner was batted away in the 21st minute, freshman midfielder Noah Leibold collected the loose ball and placed a beautiful backdoor ball to senior defender Matej Radonic, who finished with a diving header on the far post over the keeper’s grasp.
The Spartans never panicked, however, bringing on sophomore forward DeJuan Jones five minutes later, looking for the super-sub to bring a new scoring dynamic. 15 minutes after Wisconsin’s strike, it was the Spartans’ turn to rip a shot into net, as a well played ball into the box found Jones and he collected the ball, drove left around a wall of Badgers, and fired an off-balance lefty strike that left redshirt junior keeper Philipp Schilling frozen as it found its place in the back of the bottom net.
Both teams came out bucking throughout the second half, with numerous fouls and a pair yellow cards on MSU freshman defender Giuseppe Barone and UW junior midfielder Alex Masbruch—both after each barked at the ref on respective no-calls in favor of both teams.
Each offense had opportunities in the second half, but every shot seemed to veer off away from the net at the last second, resulting in subsequent goal kicks. The last fifteen minutes featured frenzied attacks, with both teams starving to add a win to propel them into sole possession of second place in the Big Ten.
The Badgers saw an oh-so-close MSU own goal just miss the lower corner after a Wisconsin through ball rebounded off the defender’s foot. Jones was busy trying to replicate his past goal-scoring success, but keeper Philipp Schilling took aggressive angles to ensure he was not caught flat-footed and stifle any strikes that came his way.
The first ten minutes of overtime saw heavy use of the midfield to start attacks, knowing possession in such a short overtime period is vital. The Spartans had the most successful run, with Jones firing a shot to the far post on a counter, but it went just wide. No efforts came to fruition, leading to a second overtime, a scene Badgers are already familiar with this season, overcoming Michigan 2-1 at McClimon in two overtimes, as well as falling to Penn State 1-2.
The Badgers displayed their frustrations in the second overtime period, as junior forward Chris Mueller was notably throwing up his hands after failed through balls and taking his time getting up when he was run down by Spartan defenders.
Junior midfielder Mike Catalano aired out his frustrations through a hit on the aforementioned Giuseppe Barone, drawing a straight red card and being ushered off the field. Still, the Badgers locked down for the final 2:37 without Catalano and held on for a gritty 1-1 draw. Neither team took possession of second place in the Big Ten, settling for a standings tie for yet another week.
That could change this week with the Badgers now turning their attention to Green Bay at home Tuesday and a showdown with No. 1 Maryland on Friday. The Terps will have home field advantage as well as the momentum of a six-game winning streak, so look for the Badgers to build on this road draw against a ranked, conference rival, aiming to take down collegiate soccer’s premier team—a result that could lead to a wide open Big Ten ready for the taking.