Diaz’s early goal not enough to score win

first_imgDespite having the home-field advantage, the University of Wisconsin men’s soccer team was unable to get past Big Ten rival Ohio State Saturday, falling to the Buckeyes 2-1. For a Badgers team looking to make an impact in the Big Ten, the loss was especially tough to swallow as it drops the team’s record against conference opponents to a dismal 0-3-1.The Badgers got off to a good start when junior Victor Diaz was able to blast a shot past OSU goalkeeper Casey Latchem in the 10th minute after receiving a beautiful pass from sophomore forward Brandon Miller. After receiving the pass, Diaz displayed some fancy footwork with a step-over maneuver that froze his defender just long enough to get the shot away. “It was a pretty sick goal,” Diaz said. “He played a pretty good ball to me. I did a step-over on my guy and put it in.”However the tide soon turned in favor of the Buckeyes. The patient Ohio State offense began to assert itself on the Badgers struggling defense and tied the game in the 32nd minute when Doug Verhoff was able to launch a shot just inside the box past UW goalkeeper Alex Horwath. Later, in the 51st minute, the Badgers were presented with a golden opportunity to take the lead when Brandon Miller was viciously tackled in the box, which led to a UW penalty kick. Looking for a player with a confident shot, UW head coach Jeff Rohrman elected to send in Victor Diaz for the attempt. As Diaz started to set up for his shot he pulled up halfway in an effort to freeze the goalie, but Latchem eventually blocked his shot. However, under NCAA rules a player attempting a penalty kick must do so in a continuous motion. In a bizarre series of events, Diaz was issued a yellow card and the Buckeyes gained possession looking to take the lead. “It has to be one continuous movement, but unfortunately there was some misunderstanding on the rule,” Rohrman said. “It’s unfortunate because there was an opportunity for us to get some momentum in the second half and we let it go by.” The penalty kick debacle sparked another swing in momentum for the Buckeyes and left the Badgers shell-shocked heading into halftime. In the second half, Ohio State’s defense clamped down on the Badgers’ offense, which was out-shot 16-8. “I thought the first 20 minutes or so we looked pretty good,” Rohrman said. “I thought we struggled a bit down the stretch. For whatever reason, we just weren’t making plays as the game progressed.” It was only a matter of time before the Badgers’ defense, which looked disorganized at times, broke down. In the 66th minute, OSU’s Matt Gold drilled a low shot from the top of the box that deflected off of the right post and past the outstretched fingertips of Horwath. The Badgers never managed to dig their way out of the one-goal deficit despite shots by forward Brian Bultman and midfielder Dirk Pearson. “We’ve been talking about defending hard, but we didn’t defend hard. Our defense wasn’t there,” Diaz said. “We give up too many goals.” “I don’t think we played particularly well, but we still had some pretty good moments. We had a good chance to get a lead early in the second half, but unfortunately we missed the penalty kick,” Rohrman said.Saturday’s loss left many players on the team pondering the “what-ifs” in a game that presented many plays and calls that didn’t go in favor of the Badgers.”It’s disappointing, but sometimes things just don’t go your way,” Miller said. “We aren’t getting the good bounces that we got earlier this season.”With the 2007 season’s end in sight, the Badgers must find a way to shore up their shoddy defense and capitalize on scoring opportunities. However, with tough games against Marquette and Penn State looming in the next week, the road to a Big Ten championship will be even rougher.”We know what we have to do,” Diaz said. “It’s putting everything together. We need to do everything together: defense, offense, everything.”last_img

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