The deciding goal came late for the Badgers, with Michael Wampler finding the back of the net in the 87th minute. His poked finish came via Noah Melick, who sent in a perfectly placed cutback from the touchline after controlling a long ball from Ben Leas and sprinting past an Ohio State defender.
The goal, the first of Wampler’s career, would be Wisconsin’s last chance of the day, but it was all they needed. A resolute defense that had held out against a high-powered Buckeye offense all day kept their calm once the lead was in hand, weathering the storm of Ohio State chances in final few minutes to secure the victory.
Pitching the shutout in net was Carter Abbott, making his first career start for the Badgers. Despite his inexperience between the pipes for the team, Abbott was excellent in his debut, making several key saves and offering a commanding presence in the box that underclassmen rarely possess.
Though the victory over Ohio State makes no major difference on the standings, it’s not without significance for the direction of Wisconsin’s season. The Badgers had been off to the worst start in team history, and while Friday’s win (and Monday’s draw with Northwestern) may not be program-defining, they are indicators of a team with a young core starting to come together and take steps forward that can help then get back into Big Ten tournament contention in the fall season.
With the win, Wisconsin improves to 1-5-1 on the year, while Ohio State falls to 3-2-1. The Badgers will now enjoy a week off before their next match, when they’ll travel to College Park to attempt to extend their unbeaten run against the second place Penn State Nittany Lions.