Emotion takes over in 1st conference victory

first_imgJunior forward Chris Prince knocked in the Badgers’ first score Saturday night before heading in the assist on the eventual game-winner.[/media-credit]Whether it was the coaches, players, referees or fans, emotions ran high through the entirety of the men’s soccer match in a 2-1 victory over Michigan Saturday night.Entering the match, the Wisconsin men’s soccer team had won just two of their previous 11 games and was winless in the Big Ten. Following a mid-week loss to UW-Milwaukee, the team that scoffed at their preseason predicted finish of sixth place in the conference was falling into the mediocrity Big Ten coaches expected of them.The Badgers (4-6-3, 1-2-0) beat the Wolverines (4-6-1, 1-2-1) twice in 2011, eventually ending Michigan’s season, so both teams had plenty of motivation, and it became easy to see the heightened pressure.Coaches approached the field, collisions sent players to the sidelines and the Badgers committed more fouls than they have in any conference game this season. After a rainy day littered the field in moisture, Wisconsin eventually answered the call, victorious by a score of 2-1 in a game literally filled with action from start to finish.After Wisconsin took the lead in the 80th minute, the Wolverines’ attempts at an equalizing goal continued for the remaining ticks and tocks as goalkeeper Chase Rau saved one final corner kick try as the final horn sounded.Each team had its moments of extreme emotion. For Michigan, it was a few calls that halted a possible scoring possession and for Wisconsin, a reaction to Joey Tennyson being tripped in the scoring box while the game remained tied. Although many times the team was able to hold its emotions in check tends to prosper, the Badgers let their emotions fly and ended up victorious.For junior captain Chris Prince, the intensity of another conference game was the root of the Badgers’ passionate effort.“I think [the increased emotions] came from the atmosphere being a Big Ten game, usually things get turned up a whole different notch,” Prince said. “We wanted more out of each other, we expected a lot better so that’s why I think it got a little chippy, but I think it paid off because it turned everyone up and made them try harder.”The game had barely reached the seventh minute when Drew Conner poked a shot through the legs of Michigan goalie Adam Grinwis, which trickled toward the goal line before Prince finished the play with a sliding score.But the Badger lead didn’t last long, as Michigan quickly evened up the tally with a goal in the 15th minute.The next 60-plus minutes passed by without many fireworks, but the excitement came from within the lineups as each goalie continued to thwart offensive runs and shots on goal.Midway through the first half, Rau made an impressive save, leaping backward to punch the ball over the crossbar and swiftly regained his footing as he charged teammate Adam Lauko with some strong feelings regarding Lauko’s defensive play.Lauko shoved Rau back toward the goal and the two went their separate ways within the Badgers’ defense. Although this may have been a sign of dissent among teammates, head coach John Trask appreciated the fiery competitiveness his team showed.“I think it shows we care. Chase said something to Adam, and Adam bit back at him,” Trask said. “You can’t win in the game of soccer without some emotion. They kinda shoved each other … but that shows our guys care.”Prince noticed the scuffle, but relayed the thought that what Rau did is rather standard in soccer.“I think it was all about communication,” Prince said. “If you watch professional soccer, when the ball gets in the box, it’s the goalie’s responsibility to get on his teammates and demand better from them.” Rau did just that, and as the Badgers settled in, they found themselves in yet another 1-1 game approaching the end of regulation.At that point, the emotions of the game hit their peak.A long, low goal kick from Rau flew over mid-field before Prince headed it onward to forward Nick Janus who lobbed a quick flick over the goalie that had pulled out too far. Janus’ kick floated toward the goal, caught the bottom half of the crossbar, bounced on the goal line and finally found the top of the net for the game-winning goal in the 80th minute.Janus wasn’t even able to see the goal Trask said took a little help from the “soccer gods.”“I got rocked,” Janus said in describing the play. “I heard the cheering, but I actually thought that someone else kicked it in.“Tonight, the luck was on our side. You need a little bit of luck in soccer.”Having not been so lucky on other occasions, Wisconsin will certainly take its first conference victory of the year. Shortly after the win, the team gained a new sense of expectation for the remainder of the season.“We’ve got three more Big Ten games,” Trask noted. “We still have a chance to finish 4-2. I know our guys still have the belief, now we just have to go out and do it.”Follow Nick on Twitterlast_img

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