It took an extra six minutes to find a winner today in East Lansing; it just wasn’t who anyone would’ve expected pregame.
The Wisconsin Badgers men’s soccer team (2-1-0 Big Ten, 5-4-1 overall) shocked the college soccer world with a 97th minute bottom-left strike by sophomore midfielder Alex Alfaro to grab a 1-0 overtime victory over the No. 5 Michigan State Spartans (2-1-0 Big Ten, 8-1-2 overall).
The chippy game at DeMartin Stadium on Sunday afternoon started with two corners for the Badgers in the first two minutes, showing an aggressiveness that was missing for UW earlier in the year. Neither opportunity amounted to anything, and Wisconsin’s attack returned to their past recent offensive struggles the rest of the half, mustering just one shot to the Spartans’ five.
Junior goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy had his hands full in the first half, but held strong. Cowdroy recorded three saves in the first half to keep the game scoreless.
As usual, Coach Trask’s halftime adjustments gave the Badgers a spark. The Spartans still put more shots towards the net, outshooting Wisconsin 4-3 in the period, but the Badgers kept pounding and ended the half with a strike from Alex Alfaro in the 87th minute that ended up just wide.
Of course, Alfaro redeemed himself less than 10 in-game minutes later.
The ball was bouncing around the top of the box between Alfaro junior midfielder Mitch Guitar and senior defender Isaac Schlenker. Eventually after Schlenker tried to settle, the ball deflected into Alfaro’s feet, who took a touch before drilling the game-winner.
The Badgers piled on Alfaro after his first goal of the season while the Spartans looked on in disbelief, unfamiliar with the losing feeling after starting the season undefeated. Head coach John Trask gave props to UW for keeping the play alive leading up to the stunning strike.
“Fair dues on the goal, and props to Isaac and Alex for keeping it alive,” Trask said to uwathletics.com. “Great goal by Alfaro — what a timely goal for his first one of the season.”
This win gives the Badgers their third win in a row and places them at fourth in the Big Ten standings.
The team finally returns home after a three-game road trip Wednesday night to face in-state rival UW-Milwaukee.