The Wisconsin Badgers men’s soccer team (2-1-0 Big Ten, 5-4-2 overall) drew 1-1 to the UW-Milwaukee Panthers (2-0-1 Horizon League, 6-3-2) after the Badgers let in a late equalizer in the second half and no one broke the deadlock in overtime.
UW’s start was promising. In the seventh minute, senior defender Isaac Schlenker rose up and nodded the ball into the corner of the net after a long throw by sophomore defender Zach Klancnik to give the Badgers a 1-0 lead.
The Milwaukee native scored his second goal this season on the first shot of the game. The captain also said it felt good to score his first ever goal against a team from his home city.
“I actually missed three headers against Marquette, so we were joking before the game I had to score a header,” Schlenker said.
The game was back and forth, and immediately the Panthers had a chance of their own. Junior forward Evan Conway had a free header, but junior goalkeeper Dean Cowdroy made a comfortable save.
The Badgers had a steady pressure during the first half as Schlenker shot just wide after solid link up play with junior midfielder Mitch Guitar. Freshman forward Andrew Akindele saw a shot tipped just past the post by sophomore goalkeeper Freddy Lorenzen in the 21st minute.
Ten minute later, Wisconsin nearly scored off a long throw-in again, but Lorenzen made a quick save to deny freshman forward Noah Melick. Lorenzen came up big with four key saves on the night, keeping Milwaukee in the game.
After half time, the Panthers started off hot. In the 53rd minute, Evan Conway had found his way through on goal and looked sure to score, but Cowdroy made an incredible save to just have the ball bounce over the bar.
Cowdroy came up huge again a few minutes later when off a corner kick, the ball fell to sophomore midfielder Vuk Latinovich. Latinovich seemed sure to score, but Cowdroy put a hand down quickly to deny the Panthers a goal.
In the 69th minute, Melick almost gave the Badgers a 2-0 lead, but his header flew just inches past the near post. Moments later, Wisconsin had a penalty claim. Melick started the play after outmuscling his defender. As Lorenzen charged out of his box, Melick switched the ball over the freshman midfielder Olafur Olafsson. Olafsson chested the ball down to sophomore midfielder Michael Russell II, and Russell looked to be taken down. The referee didn’t call anything, and play continued.
The Panthers were frequently dangerous on the counter attack, and UW looked to be exhausted in defense. Once again, Conway got through the defense and lasered a shot from the left side, but his shot hit the post and flew out. Freshman forward Cameron Williams got the rebound but was unable to clean up the mess as he skied it over the bar.
UW had one final chance as Akindele played Noah Melick through as his back was to goal. Melick rushed onto the ball but it just ran into the Panthers’ keeper Lorenzen, making yet another crucial stop.
The Badgers’ tired legs and minds finally caught up to them with less than a minute left. Conway thumped home a header off a corner kick from senior midfielder Francesco Saporito in the 89th minute, which caused an eruption from the Milwaukee bench and deflation for the Badgers as tied the game up at 1-1, forcing another 20 minutes.
In overtime, neither team made a chance count. Milwaukee almost snuck away with the game-winner after a free kick deflected off Andrew Akindele’s and hit the post, but eventually UW was able to clear it away.
But despite giving up the late goal, the Badgers are trying to look on the bright side as they still remained unbeaten.
“It feels like a loss for sure, but honestly we’ll take the point after the three games we just had. We were really really exhausted physically and mentally before the game,” Isaac Schlenker said. “Yeah we should’ve won, but on the bright side, we still have our [unbeaten]-streak going.”
Wisconsin currently has a four-game unbeaten streak after a less-than-stellar start to the season. Schlenker said the young team is still improving every game, and the Badgers are looking to build on that momentum and turn their home stadium into a fortress.
“We’re really working on defending our turf and getting a win streak going at home, which is something we usually do here at Wisconsin,” Schlenker said. “We’re going to be better [next game] than we were today just like we better [today] than we were against Michigan State.”
Wisconsin hosts the Rutgers Scarlet Knights next Sunday at 1 p.m.