UW emerges victorious in physical match against in-state rival

first_imgIn soccer, a “derby” is defined as a match between two teams from the same city or region.For the Wisconsin men’s soccer team, Wednesday’s match against cross-state rival UW-Milwaukee was most definitely a derby.The intensity and physicality of Wednesday’s match reached a level these Badgers haven’t experienced so far this season. In fact, with so many freshmen on this year’s squad, many of these guys had never ever experienced a match with this level of intensity.“This was the first real big rivalry game for me so it was kind of an eye-opener as I wasn’t used to this,” freshman forward Mark Segbers said. “But once you get hit a couple of times, it wakes you up and gets you ready for the battle.”Despite both teams getting chippy and into it with each other, the Badgers held strong, stay focused and were able to walk away with a 1-0 victory over the Panthers.“It’s kind of hard to keep your composure when your blood is boiling and everything like that,” Segbers said. “It definitely gets in your head a little bit to start, but that’s where you got your captains to keep you focused and keep you on your game. You can’t lose your game over something stupid and start talking to the other team or anything like that.”Wisconsin knew coming into Wednesday night’s match that this sort of battle awaited them. Playing Milwaukee yearly like they do, they know the Panthers are always going to bring their best and bring the intensity.Redshirt junior defender Carl Schneider, who scored the lone goal of the match on a header off a perfect cross from redshirt sophomore midfielder Luc Kazmierczak, knew what the team was getting themselves into as they approached kick-off.“It’s always expected when we play Milwaukee. They are a chippy group and obviously being an in-state rivalry adds more to it,” Schneider said. “Coach told us before the game that we have to keep our heads straight if we want to be successful tonight.”With both programs in the heart of conference play, it may be difficult for the teams to get up for a mid-week non-conference matchup. However, that was not even close to being the case for these two teams.There was fresh bad blood between these two programs, as Wisconsin had beat Milwaukee in last year’s NCAA tournament by the same count, 1-0. With that bad blood flowing, Milwaukee was going to do everything they could to get revenge. Unfortunately for them, that didn’t happen for them despite their physical play.“Both programs are looking forward to their conference games, but it still got feisty tonight,” head coach John Trask said. “We know them, they know us, we knocked them out of the NCAA tournament last year. You could tell that as soon as we got the goal, the game kicked into a totally different gear physicality-wise.”With that physical play, both teams are constantly fighting for the ball and it really moves that game into the midfield. When that happens, it can be difficult to get anything going offensively.It ultimately gets to the point where both teams are frustrated, and it becomes more of a match of pushing and shoving, but that is to expected during a derby.“Both programs didn’t want to lose this game and it started to get personal,” Trask said. “There was a big strong battle going on there in the middle of the field, and that was just because neither team could get the ball out of the middle and down the field. There were good isolated moments of soccer for both groups, but it was just a lot banging going on.”The level of intensity these Badgers experienced was something they hadn’t yet experienced this season, but it was also something that will help prepare them as the regular season winds down.With just three Big Ten games remaining, Wisconsin should expect some of their toughest matches to date, and despite not having the most successful season record-wise, this team knows they need to be ready to put up the fight.“Sometimes, when you’re not having a good season, this is the kind of game that rallies the guys because it was not a game for the feint of heart,” Trask said. “The physicality here was a lot like some of the Big Ten games, so hopefully we have learned some lessons here tonight and learned how to compete in that environment.”last_img