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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, February 07, 2023
Junior midfielder Mitch Guitar helped guide the Wisconsin Badgers over the Buckeyes in overtime.

Junior midfielder Mitch Guitar helped guide the Wisconsin Badgers over the Buckeyes in overtime.

Badgers gut out 1-0 win over Valparaiso in soggy conditions

The Wisconsin Badgers (2-2-0) gutted through soggy conditions and a field change to earn a confidence-boosting 1-0 win over the Valparaiso Crusaders (1-3-0).

While technically a home game, UW was forced to move the game 7.2 miles away to the Irwin A. and Robert D. Goodman Pitch on Madison College’s campus because conditions at McClimon were too soaked to play.

Even on the turf fields, as the rain became a deluge after about 15 minutes, the game got sloppier and chippier. Valparaiso committed 24 fouls in the game and received three second half yellow cards, including one to their coach.

The first half’s rain made it harder to find an offensive opening, but the Badgers had one great chance in the first. Junior midfielder Duncan Storey got on the end of a gorgeous cross, but his wicked shot was beautifully saved by junior goalkeeper Nacho Miras. The Spaniard made four saves, but this was the pick of the bunch as he kept the scoreline at 0-0 at halftime.

As the second half began, Valparaiso had their two best chances of the game. Junior midfielder Danny Moreno got as close as you can as he hit the inside of the left post. The Colombian’s ricocheted ball seemed sure to bounce it, but it somehow stayed out of junior goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy’s net. Off an ensuing corner, junior forward Michael Marchionna attempted an acrobatic bicycle kick that sailed just over the bar.

After that scare, the traffic was all heading towards Valparaiso’s goal. In the 52nd minute, sophomore midfielder Alex Alfaro chested a ball down at the top of the box after a corner, only to be pushed over to earn a penalty.

Senior defender Isaac Schlenker cooly converted the penalty to give the Badgers what would ultimately be the winning goal.

“I love getting the game-winning goal,” Schlenker said. “It’s hopefully the first of many this season. I’ve only scored one goal per season, so hopefully I can get a few more.”

Wisconsin continued to pepper the goal, but it was not to be for the Badgers. Freshman forward Noah Melick had a couple of close calls. The big man had four shots on the day, but his best chance was a thumping header saved by Miras near the end of the second half.

UW had 14 shots and looked more confident as the game grew on, but Schlenker thinks the conditions and venue change made it a game where anything could happen.

“It [was] one of those games where it could go either way,” Schlenker said. “I think we really earned [this win]. The goal was well deserved. We could’ve scored a few more, but a 1-0 win is a win.”

After two games in two and a half days, Schlenker said the team was “exhausted,” especially after playing into double overtime against Fordham. Head coach John Trask was pleased with the fight in his team.

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“There's a lot of reasons we could have had to not play our best and use excuses after a really tough game against Fordham, but we didn't,” Trask said. “We came out and got it done, so big congrats to all the players."

Schlenker and the rest of the players are happy to be able to rest and recover for four days before the team travels to Illinois to take on SIU-Edwardsville and Bradley.

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