After ending its road woes with a come-from-behind 3-2 victory against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-4 Big Ten, 2-8-1 overall) on Sunday, the Wisconsin Badgers (3-1, 6-2-2) return to its home fortress to try and continue its 19-game home unbeaten streak against in-state rivals Marquette Golden Eagles (1-2 Big East, 1-7-1) this Wednesday.
It was a tale of two halves against the Scarlet Knights. In the first, Rutgers dominated the run of play, with junior Thomas Dovell scoring in the 27th minute to give Rutgers its first lead in a Big Ten game so far this season. In the second, it was all Wisconsin, with senior midfielder Mike Catalano, junior defender Elan Koenig and senior forward Chris Mueller scoring the three goals that gave them the victory.
Looking ahead to Marquette, clearly the Badgers would want to perform more like they did in the second half against Rutgers. Head coach John Trask was sure to praise the performance of the defense because without its efforts, Sunday could’ve been worse for Wisconsin.
“It was a frustrating first half though. We just didn't come out that well and they came out fired up. Luckily our defense came out strong and [senior goalkeeper Philipp Schilling] was back there making great saves,” Trask told uwbadgers.com after the game on Sunday.
Schilling had to make a huge stop after sophomore forward Brian Hawkins found himself one-on-one five minutes before halftime. Schilling’s stop meant the lead was only one at the break, and the Badgers attack was able to regroup after halftime.
“They were relentless up there,” Trask said.
The experienced seniors in the front line, Catalano, Mueller, Tom Barlow and Mark Segbers all chipped in with a goal or an assist in the second half, and those four have combined for 15 goals this season.
While they’ve all been crucial to the Wisconsin attack, it’s Chris Mueller who has stolen the show. The playmaker scored or assisted on all three goals, and with four goals and eight assists on the season, it is no wonder his head coach is full of praise for the Schaumburg, Ill., native.
"I feel like a lot of guys played excellently today but [Mueller] showed why he is an All-American,” Trask said.
The Badgers will be hoping for more goals against Marquette on Wednesday, as the Golden Eagles have given up 19 goals already this season. Junior goalkeeper Luis Barraza has done well this season, making 41 saves already, but he has still averaged over two goals per game given up.
Going forward for Marquette, sophomore forward Diego Núñez will be hoping to continue his hot streak. The Spaniard has scored two goals in his last three games and seems to be a revelation for the Golden Eagles, as he’s only started three games this season. Additionally, look out for junior Grant Owens, who leads Marquette with three goals this season.
Kickoff is at 7 p.m. Wednesday night.