WHO: Wisconsin Badgers @ Maryland Terrapins
WHAT: Men's soccer B1G Conference game
WHERE: Ludwig Field, University of Maryland College Park
WHEN: Friday, September 26, 2014 at 7:30 pm
WATCH: BTN Plus (BTN2GO.COM)
The Wisconsin Badgers arrival in College Park on Friday may come at a propitious time for the Maryland men's soccer squad and a dangerous time for the visitors. While the Badgers are reeling with three losses and a tie in their last four games, they have begun to show signs of stability in their performance. However, they do not come into this game with a defense that is likely to intimidate anyone. On Maryland's side, although they failed to score against Michigan State and needed a penalty kick to break through against Dayton, the Terps have probably put together their three most dangerous halves of offensive soccer thus far this season and look to be on the verge of a breakthrough.
Badgers? We ain't got no stinkin' badgers.
Given that one nickname for Wisconsin is the Badger State it might make sense that the nickname of the athletic teams for the flagship state university would be the Badgers. It might, except for one small fact. There are no native badgers in Wisconsin! Huh? Really. The nickname came from an association with lead miners in the 1820s. Without shelter in the winter, the miners had to "live like Badgers" in tunnels burrowed into hillsides. The official name of the mascot, known to most as ‘Bucky', is Buckingham U. Badger. The name was the result of a contest and outdistanced some of the previous monikers such as Benny, Buddy, Bernie, Bobby, and my personal favorite, Bouncey. And for those who missed the reference*:
Badgers on the pitch
Despite coming off a very respectable 2013 season, Wisconsin was picked seventh in the preseason Big Ten Coaches' poll. The Badgers finished 14-5-2 and 4-2 in conference play which was good enough for second place. Despite their record, Wisconsin was not a particularly potent offensive squad averaging 1.86 goals per game. Conversely, to win as many games as they did, they had to have been solid defensively and they were conceding only 1.29 goals on average. In the postseason, the Badgers lost in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament and reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament where they lost to the eventual national champion, Notre Dame.
Wisconsin graduated six starters from their 2013 squad including leading scorer Nick Janus who scored nine goals and added three assists. They do, however, return their second leading goal scorer, Jacob Brindle.
The Badgers have gotten off to a slow start in 2014 with a 1-4-1 record through the first six games. They've made only one road trip - interestingly to the DMV - where they dropped two games losing 2-1 at George Mason and 4-1 at Georgetown. When they returned home, they lost a third straight game falling in their conference opener to Rutgers 3-2 in overtime.In their most recent contest, they battled St. John's to a 1-1 tie.
The 2014 edition of Wisconsin soccer appears, statistically at least to play a rather conservative style. With a 1.67 goals per game average, they score less efficiently than they did last season. What scoring they do manage has come largely in the second half when they have picked up nine of their ten goals. Given their record they are, not surprisingly, as effective defensively as they were last season. Opponents average two goals per game against the Badgers. Wisconsin concedes nearly 13 shots per game while attempting fewer than ten.
Players to Watch
Mark Segbers, #17, freshman, forward. The 5'9" freshman from St. Louis has made an early and immediate impact on the pitch for the Badgers. Although he has started in only three of Wisconsin's six games, he leads the team in goals with four and points with nine.
Tom Barlow, #11, freshman, forward. Barlow has started all six games of his freshman campaign and has scored twice while adding two assists. His six total points are good for second best through six games. Barlow was the Missouri Gatorade Player of the Year as a high school junior and was rated a four star recruit by TopDrawerSoccer.com
To date, the Badgers have not gotten great offensive production from any of the three preseason B1G players to watch. Midfielders Drew Connor, David Caban, and Jacob Brindle have combined to produce only two goals and three assists.
Friday's game will be only the third meeting all-time between the two programs. The Terrapins hold a 2-0 advantage but have not played the Badgers in this century. The Terps first defeated Wisconsin 2-0 in 1997 in Madison. They duplicated that margin winning 3-1 in 1999 when Wisconsin last came to College Park.
* If you still don't get it, "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre"