Men’s soccer on the rise

first_imgSophomore Joey Tennyson leads the Badgers with three goals off of seven shots-on-goal through only five of the team’s seven games so far this season. Tennyson had only three goals last season, second to fellow sophomore Chris Prince who had seven goals.[/media-credit]After a disappointing finish in 2010, head coach John Trask and the Wisconsin men’s soccer team set out to improve early this season.Following last year’s 4-13-3 finish, Trask and his young team are already noticing improvements. Coming off of an unbeaten weekend at Flames Field in Chicago, the Badgers now boast a 3-3-1 record through their first seven games of the season.“We’re improving, and I’m pretty pleased with where we’re at,” Trask said of his young team. “[But] have we really arrived? No. We’re a team coming off a four-win season. We’ve got to find a way to get some positive results, and hopefully we can push this thing forward.”Last year’s team, which lost to eventual national semifinalist Michigan in the Big Ten tournament, was Trask’s first at UW. After winning two Horizon League regular season titles, the 2007 Horizon League Tournament and two Horizon League Coach of the Year titles with Illinois at Chicago, Trask came to Madison with a new attitude and a notoriously ferocious defense.This year, sophomore goalkeepers Ciro Martinez and Max Jentsch have held opponents to one goal or fewer in four games, in which the Badgers are 3-0-1. The Badgers’ solid defense, at times coupled with stellar goalkeeping and steady offense, has propelled them to the best start they have had in the last few years. After closing last year 3-2-1, all signs point to success in the near future for Trask’s young team.Sophomore forward Chris Prince led the team in scoring with seven goals and 14 points last year and netted his second goal of this season Sunday against Southern Illinois University Edwardsville. Sophomore midfielder Joey Tennyson has three goals on the year, including one last weekend, and sophomore midfielders Nick Janus and Trevor Wheeler each have one, meaning the sophomore class has accounted for seven of the team’s 11 goals thus far.“Even though we’re a young team, we had seven freshmen starting last year, so they got a good 15 games under their belt,” Prince said.“Most of our young players did get a lot of experience last year, so that’s going to help us out a lot,” Tennyson added.The three Badger losses this season have come from Virginia, California-Irvine and Memphis – all schools that received votes to be ranked in the most recent NCAA coaches’ poll. The Badgers had chances to win all three of the games, but silly mistakes led to missed opportunities. Tennyson, who currently leads the team in goals, said he feels that consistently eliminating mistakes like the ones already committed would take the team to the level at which they want to perform.Evidence of the Badgers’ work was shown last weekend, when scoring three unanswered goals to start the game against previously 4-1-1 Drake University proved to be enough to win 3-1 Friday. During the second game of the weekend doubleheader, the Badgers tied a scrappy SIU Edwardsville team, 1-1. The game was scoreless until the 83rd minute, when Prince put the Badgers on top for two minutes before the Cougars’ Derek Huffman scored the equalizer three minutes later.By completing a weekend doubleheader without a loss, the Badgers showed improvement from the previous two weekends, during which they compiled a 1-3 record.The Badgers now move on to a four game homestand on Sunday, beginning with Loyola Marymount, a team with a 2-4-0 record out of the West Cost Conference. The Lions lost a close game to University of California Los Angeles earlier this season, having to play 77 minutes with 10 men. After LMU, the Badgers have a tough stretch that includes games against Indiana, Creighton, Michigan and Michigan State. The Hoosiers, Bluejays and Spartans will all face the Badgers at the McClimon Complex.With the Big Ten opener against Indiana Oct. 2 at the McClimon Complex, Trask and the Badgers hope to have improved in all areas, as some are speculating the Big Ten title will come down to the Badgers and Hoosiers this year.“It’s either us or Indiana, I think, that should finish on top in the Big Ten, and hopefully we should be able to make the NCAA Tournament, too. I don’t think there’s a reason why we shouldn’t,” Prince said.The Badgers have everything they need to succeed – a nationally renowned coaching staff, young talent, veteran leadership and an opportunity for a much improved year. Where there is any possible doubt, Trask shows full confidence in his team.“Are we as experienced? No,” Trask said. “But I’d also say that we’re pretty darn good, so that should not be a hindrance going forward.”last_img read more

No. 12 Syracuse’s tempo, spacing dictate shot quality

first_imgMidfielder Jacob Buttermore dodged to his right and barreled down the outside of the alley, bringing his defender with him.He neared the 20-yard line when Army close defender Griffin Schultz slid, leaving attack Bradley Voigt in space. Voigt caught Buttermore’s feed on his left side, spun to the right and laced a shot between the right post and Black Knight goalie AJ Barretto’s helmet. Syracuse bled half of the 80 second shot clock on the possession that netted Voigt’s second-quarter goal against Army last Sunday. By opting to maintain possession and attempting to draw slides, rather than rushing offense early in the shot clock, the Orange have generated good shot attempts consistently. Despite having the No. 38 offense (out of 69 teams) and averaging 10.7 goals per game, Syracuse has improved both its shots on goal percentage — 55 percent against the Raiders, 75 percent Sunday — and outright shooting percentage.The uptick coincides with No. 12 Syracuse (2-1) topping two-straight ranked opponents and one that could continue Saturday when No. 13 Virginia (2-2) visits the Carrier Dome. UVA freshman Patrick Burkinshaw faced 35 shots on goal against Princeton on Feb. 23, saving 24 of them in his first-ever collegiate action. “I think our shooting can still improve,” Desko said Wednesday. “That being said, everybody’s got a good goalie now.”AdvertisementThis is placeholder textAs Colgate methodically built a 3-0 lead throughout the first quarter in SU’s season-opener, the Orange responded with rushed shots early in the shot clock. Trailing, midfielders blindly fired after dodging, not looking to see if a slide had come and opened up a shooter inside. Feeds that reached attacks in front of the cage went straight into the webbing of Raiders goalie Connor Mullen’s stick, when they were on goal at all. In the first three quarters, Syracuse put 12-of-26 shots on target. “You just get rushed,” SU sophomore Brendan Curry said, “and you just want to take the first shot, even though it might not be the best shot.”In the following week of practice, Syracuse focused heavily on its shot. Curry and other dodgers looked for slides and open shooters.Coaches and players also mentioned “changing the plane” as a means to improve shooting numbers. When an attacker catches the ball and looks to shoot, they need to read the goalie for a split second. If the goalie is baiting the shooter high, Curry said, he’ll stare him down and drive a shot low. If he sees a goalie dipping, he’ll lower his eyes while simultaneously aiming for an upper corner. Against then-No. 15 Albany, the Orange shot on goal 29 times, nearly as many times as the Great Danes shot in total (36). Voigt, in particular, feasted in the middle of the defense.On the man-up in the second quarter, Curry caught a pass on the left hash mark at the 25 yard line. Albany close defender Sean Gleason hurried to cover Curry, leaving Voigt with five yards of free space in every direction. A calm pass and quick shot put SU up, 3-2, at the time. As midfielders repeatedly draw slides from Albany’s close defenders, Voigt leaked into the open space created, scoring six goals.“I think we were definitely more comfortable in the offense that were running right now,” Voigt said after his performance. “And I’m not much of a dodger, so I’m a product of the guys that are dodging around me so all credit to the offensive guys that helped me get open today.”Most recently against then-No. 13 Army, SU turned in its most efficient performance, shooting wise, to date. The Orange took 37 shots, 28 of which were on target. Ten became goals. The spacing and tempo lacking against Colgate came in abundance. With Jakob Phaup dominating the faceoff X, Syracuse consistently ran its offense until shooting lanes opened. The only thing keeping the game from turning into a blowout was Barretto, who finished with a career high 18 saves.Early in the second quarter, Voigt nabbed a ground ball yards from the crease, near Barretto’s left post. Voigt fired low. Barretto dropped to his knees and fended the shot off.SU attack Stephen Rehfuss picked up the rebound and went high. Barretto sprung up, knocked the shot up with his stick, turned around and caught the rebound, starting up the clear.After the game, Desko pointed out that shooters can’t change planes up close on the goalie. In the following week, he said, they’d work to fix it in practice. “I think we can still shoot better,” Desko said. Comments Facebook Twitter Google+center_img Published on February 27, 2019 at 10:23 pm Contact Andrew: aegraham@syr.edu | @A_E_Grahamlast_img read more