On Saturday, the Wisconsin Badgers men’s soccer team dropped a heart breaker, falling to Penn State 1-0 in State College.
The breakthrough for the Nittany Lions didn’t come until late, as the home side was held scoreless for the first 86 minutes of the contest. However, a Badger defense that had faced 18 shots in a “bend don’t break” game against one of the conferences’ top teams eventually faltered, conceding a late penalty. Once at the spot, senior midfielder Pierre Reedy made no mistake, calmly slotting home the game winner from twelve yards out.
One notable bright spot came in the dying moments of the match for Wisconsin, when another penalty was given and Reedy looked poised to double the Nittany Lion lead. But this time sophomore goalkeeper Carter Abbott, in only his second career start, was equal to Reedy’s effort, making a nice (if essentially meaningless) save.
Though the result was a bitter pill to swallow, Abbott continues to be a late season bright spot for a Wisconsin team that’s struggled in 2021. The sophomore stepped into the starting goalkeeper position last week against Ohio State and pitched a shutout, an impressive debut that was followed up by a strong performance in State College on Saturday.
Abbott is yet another addition to a list of younger Badgers that are set to help the program build off a rough past two seasons in the coming years. In the outfield, Dawson Gulley, Murat Calkap, Jack Finnegan, Eliot Popkewitz, Bennett Pauls and Ethan Chung have all made important contributions so far this spring in their first years with the program. Inaki Iribarren has shown the ability to dictate games for the Badgers and is still just a sophomore. The Spaniard has only played in six games this season, but he hasn’t left the field once in those six matches. These underclassmen are core players on a team that has slowly improved this year, and they’ll only continue to grow as they head into next season.
The loss drops the Badgers to 1-6-1 on the year, while Penn State improves to 6-1. Wisconsin will be back in action for the second stint of their road trip this Wednesday when they head to East Lansing to take on Michigan State, before they close out their season with an Easter Sunday visit from Michigan.