Checking in with UW teams at the start of the conference The Badger Herald
Football is back in Madison, but maybe not the one you think. Both the Wisconsin men’s and women’s soccer teams are back on the field and both have a lot to prove this season.
The women’s team started their year with a dominating performance in preseason play. The action began away from home against Texas Christian University. The Badgers held the Frogs to a 0-0 draw.
The team continued through Texas, taking on Baylor three days later. With goals from Wisconsin sophomore Adee Boer and senior Emma Jaskaniec, plus a massive effort from goaltender Erin McKinney, the Badgers won their first game of the new season by a score of 2-0.
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The Badger’s women’s soccer team’s first home game was against Loyola. Sophomore Maia Richters scored her first career goal with a pass from Jaskaniec in the 41st minute. Amanda Cassidy scored a late equalizer for the Ramblers, ending in a 1-1 draw. Wisconsin then topped UW-Green Bay later that same weekend with a 3-0 win.
The team’s unbeaten run ended with a trip to play at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish scored four goals against the Badgers in the second half. Jaskaniec managed to score a goal in the 79th minute, and although he couldn’t save a point for Wisconsin, it was Notre Dame’s first goal conceded this season.
The Badgers regrouped and quickly got back on their winning streak, as they won three games in a row. First, a 2-0 victory over Butler in Indianapolis. Wisconsin then picked up home wins over UW-Milwaukee and Northern Illinois.
With non-conference play out of the way, the Badgers turn to Big Ten play. This Wisconsin team has high hopes because they are ranked third in the Big Ten coaches preseason poll.
The women began their conference play with a trip to Iowa City to take on the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa struck first in the 6th minute of play, scoring a goal past McKinney. It would, however, be the Hawkeyes’ only goal of the game, as Wisconsin tallied three goals in quick succession in the 46th, 47th and 50th minutes of the game. Wisconsin came home with a dominating 3-1 performance in their first conference outing.
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The women’s team this year had no problem finding the back of the net, a theme that should continue throughout the season.
On the men’s side, the Badgers enter conference play with fewer minutes under their belt than the women’s team. After a disappointing 2021 season that ended 3-5-1 in conference, the Badger’s men put in a strong non-conference showing.
The team welcomed new head coach Neil Jones to Madison with a 5-0 win over Utah State. A transfer from freshman Matt Chandler scored the opening goal, followed by a goal from junior Maxwell Keenan. Juniors Jack Finnegan and Tim Bielic teamed up for a goal, followed by two shots on goal from senior Inaki Iribarren.
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The next game against a ranked team from Tulsa created drama.
Finnegan scored two goals and Iribarren netted a third, setting up three goals for the Badgers in the 69th minute. That’s when lightning struck, literally. The game had to be called off seconds before the game reached the 70th minute (where the game could be called over). This meant the match ended “no contest” with no impact on either team’s record.
The strong performance in the first two games was not enough to keep the Badgers going for long, however. Wisconsin suffered losses to UW-Milwaukee and Western Michigan, both on the road. Although Wisconsin scored early in both games, the Panthers and Broncos managed to sneak past goaltender Carter Abbott.
The Badgers closed out the non-conference season with dominating performances against UAB and Marquette. Wisconsin entered the conference season with a positive 3-2 record.
Conference play began with a trip to State College to take on Penn State. The first 45 ended level, with both teams testing the other. The Nittany Lions managed to beat the Badgers in the dying embers of the game with a goal in the 85th minute. Despite 16 free-kick chances, the Badgers were unable to shoot more than three shots on goal, returning to Madison with a 0-1 loss.
Badger’s men are still finding their footing after years of disappointing results. New head coach Neil Jones also appears to be working on how he plans to coach the team in the future. The team is led by three experienced captains and has decent depth. The question is how the team plan will use it.
Wisconsin football is expected to be an exciting and energetic season for both teams with outstanding players and great coaching. Looks like UW excels at more than American football…