Final home match draws big crowd

first_imgBidding farewell to its seniors in their last home match against their biggest competition in front of one of their largest home crowds, the Wisconsin men’s tennis team seemed like it was finally going to break its 17-match losing streak against the Ohio State Buckeyes. In heartbreaking fashion, they fell just one point short, losing 4-3.From the first serve, emotions were running high.After fighting back from behind to win the doubles point in a tiebreaker, the whole squad was fired up and ready for the singles matches.“It’s always important to win double’s point, so it was definitely really good for us, especially against Ohio,” sophomore Patrick Pohlmann said. “We want to win the double’s point because we know that anybody from Ohio can beat anybody from us and the other way around, so it’s a huge advantage.“We were all fired up. We knew we could beat them. It’s been 17 times, now 18, we lost to them. We were all fired up.”Head coach Greg Van Emburgh also noted the advantage winning the doubles point gave the Badgers.“I mean, there’s an opportunity,” Van Emburgh said. “You win the doubles point, now you have to split the singles to get to four. I thought we had a good chance at that. The guys played good throughout the lineup — singles and doubles — it’s a little unfortunate we came out on the short end of the stick. You hope fairy tales work out sometimes, but it was not to be today.”Although Pohlmann and senior Luke Rassow-Kantor used the doubles win to their advantage — both winning their singles matches — frustration was mounting for the others.Rassow-Kantor won Wisconsin’s second point on the day in an exciting tiebreaker victory for the second set. For the senior, the exciting individual win was a near perfect way to end his career at home.“It meant a lot,” Rassow-Kantor said. “It was my last match so I really wanted to get a win at home. We still got Big Ten’s and NCAA’s, but it was my last home match, so I really wanted to get this one.“It would have meant more if as a team we won. It’s good to win, but it just sucks that the team lost.”Coming down to what felt like a perfect setting for the win, senior Moritz Baumann became the deciding factor. But Baumann was unable to pull out the victory over Justin Kronauge in No. 2 singles.“It was really close,” Rassow-Kantor said. “It could have went either way and it just sucked to see him go down like that.”“You’re hoping that he’ll be able to dig deep enough and play hard enough to give himself a chance,” Van Emburgh said. “It was a little unfortunate there. Justin’s a great player — he’s lost one match the whole year — you better be over 100 percent to beat him. I think Justin’s a good player and you know it’s a coin toss on both ends there in the third set.”Although the outcome wasn’t quite what Wisconsin was hoping for, all three seniors were able to notch wins on the day whether it was in singles or doubles.“I mean there’s a lot of emotions,” Van Emburgh said. “There was a great crowd today. I felt like we couldn’t have had a better college setting today. You know, just a great college match and you hope you’re on the right end of the stick of it and we weren’t today. It was great that the guys were able to play some great tennis on Senior Day.”last_img read more

Women’s soccer: Badgers look to end two-game skid in weekend home stand

first_imgComing off two hard-fought losses to No. 19 Pepperdine and No. 14 UCLA during their west coast road trip last week, the Wisconsin women’s soccer team (2-2) will look to rebound with a pair of home games against Loyola Chicago Friday and Illinois State Sunday.Game 1: Loyola Chicago (2-1-1), Friday at 7 p.m.What to Watch for: Unfamiliar TerritoryThe opening game of the home stand finds the Badgers in the midst of their first losing streak since late in the 2013-14 season, when the team lost consecutive conference matches to Minnesota and Indiana. A third consecutive loss would put Wisconsin less than .500 for the first time since their 2011-12 campaign, in which they dropped their season opener to Notre Dame.A balanced offensive approach for UW: Part of Wisconsin’s inconsistencies on offense this season can be traced back to a lack of production from the forward position thus far. All five goals scored by the team have been credited to the attacking efforts of veteran midfielders Rose Lavelle and McKenna Meuer. Look for the forwards to cut down on turnovers and get themselves in better position to score from up top, alleviating the pressure on their midfielders.Neutralizing Loyola’s freshman forwards: Similar to UW, Loyola’s offense has also scored five goals in four games, but this effort has been led by the freshman scoring tandem of Jenna Szczesny and Claire Oberle, each contributing two goals already this season. Look for Wisconsin’s back line, anchored by seniors Brianna Stelzer and Molly Laufenberg, to use experience to their advantage and force the rising stars into taking low-percentage shots and getting less-proven contributors involved on the attack.Game 2: Illinois State (1-3) Sunday at 1 p.m.What to watch for: Big Ten Blues?The Illinois State Redbirds kicked off their season with a Columbus, Ohio, road trip, taking on Wisconsin’s Big Ten rival, Ohio State. What followed was a four-goal defeat at the hands of the Buckeyes, where the Redbird defense was drummed to the beat of 14 shots and four goals in the opening 35 minutes, culminating in a 2-6 defeat. The team then followed up with a one-goal shutout loss to the Illini at home, extending their Big Ten losing streak to seven. Illinois State’s last win against Big Ten competition was a 2-1 overtime victory over Northwestern in the 2011-12 season.Continued poise from Caitlyn Clem: In her first four games as the starting goalkeeper for the Badgers, Caitlyn Clem has endured a trial-by-fire, facing two of the nation’s top offenses on the west coast trip. Despite team losses to both Pepperdine and UCLA, Clem held up her end, totaling five and seven saves against each opponent respectively. While the attacking efforts of Illinois State may be underwhelming in comparison, Clem still needs to keep her mental edge and sharpness in the box to avoid any chance of a Redbird upset.An offense without a star: Ironically enough, the top scorers last season for each team (Cara Walls for Wisconsin and Rachel Tejada for Illinois State) were both drafted as forwards by The Chicago Red Stars of the NWSL this season. Tejada’s departure has since left the Redbirds struggling to find their next offensive star as they pursue a third consecutive NCAA tournament appearance. Look for Wisconsin’s defense to capitalize on a rare rebuilding period for the typically dominant Illinois State offense, currently averaging just 1.25 goals per game after last season’s mark of 2.64.last_img read more