UW’s play a tale of two halves in tie with St. John’s

first_imgStrong play in second halves has helped save the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team many times this year.In a 1-1 draw against St. Johns, the Badgers scored their lone goal in the 48th minute and did not allow a shot on goal the entire second half. The Badgers played well in the first half, but allowed a goal due to the strong winds.The Badgers played a solid, all-around game against St. John’s with the only lapse being a long punt going behind the back line and leading to a one-on-one opportunity in which the Red Storms’ Mohamed Awad beat Wisconsin goalkeeper Casey Beyers.The strong winds behind the St. John’s goalkeeper pushed the ball farther and farther beyond the Wisconsin back line, and they were never able to recover.The Badgers did not drop their heads after the goal, knowing they would have the wind on their side in the second half.Wisconsin has been down going into halftime at several points this season, but head coach John Trask has been able to energize his team with his halftime speeches.“When your heads are down, [Trask] just comes in and gets you going with his speech,” freshman forward Mike Catalano said.Trask tried to keep the emotions positive in the locker room because he believed the Badgers outplayed St. John’s for the majority of the first half. This positive tone may have led to Wisconsin’s success later on in the game.With the strong wind at their backs for the second half, the Badgers pushed forward and put pressure on the St. John’s defensive line.“[St. John’s] wanted to build out of the back, real deep,” Trask said of the Red Storm’s strategy in the second half playing into the wind. “So if we could push the game and press them, balls were getting hung up and we were going to be able to win them and slam it back down their throats.”Wisconsin scored off a cross from freshman Tom Barlow who connected with Catalano. The goal ignited the crowd and gave Wisconsin more energy to keep attacking.Wisconsin took 10 shots in the second half alone, which were helped by the winds and their aggressive positioning.Not only were the forwards able to attack more, but the Wisconsin defensive line was also able to move forward with the wind behind them.“It allowed us a little more attacking freedom and the midfielders were able to push up, which allowed us to get our goal,” defender David Caban said.The Badgers continued their push throughout the second half while trying to reach that second goal.Although UW didn’t score in the second half, it continued strong into the extra time periods by maintaining control of the ball and the game for a majority of the time. St. John’s had two total scoring opportunities in the second half, but could not get a shot on goal in either chance.The only time Wisconsin had difficulty with St. John’s after halftime was in the final two minutes of extra time. St. John’s attacked and earned two corner kicks within the final 20 seconds, but Wisconsin’s defensive line held the Red Storm off the board to earn the tie.With strong second half performances from the entire team, the Badgers are looking to get even stronger as the season wears on. But tough road matches loom for UW in the coming weeks, and it will need to continue its strong second half play along with improving its first half play to stand a chance against the better competition.The large home crowd and student section may have helped the Badgers keep fighting in the second halves recently, but they will have to find other motivations on the road.Wisconsin gained some confidence Friday night by ending its three-game losing streak, but the Badgers cannot rely solely on their second half play to bring them back into games. They will eventually need to find more success early on in the games, which can help bring results their way in the future.last_img

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