UW’s Yeagley to face alma mater

first_imgGoalkeeper Alex Horwath and the Badgers will play No. 13 Indiana at the McClimon Soccer Complex.[/media-credit]First-year head men’s soccer coach Todd Yeagley is looking for a positive result against his alma mater, No. 13 Indiana, this Friday at the McClimon Complex.The Badgers will go head-to-head with the Big Ten conference favorites in a special promotional event, “Pac the Mac,” which will allow fans to view the match from behind the goals.The Badgers will go into the Big Ten opener following a strong showing in the Milwaukee Panther Invitational Tournament last weekend in which the team came away with a 1-0 victory versus Oakland and a 1-1 draw against No. 7 UC-Santa Barbara.The team, I think, did take a good step forward, and that will help us for this weekend coming up against an Indiana team that is loaded all over the field,” Yeagley said during a Monday press conference.After recording two solid results this weekend, two players were awarded with Big Ten Player of the Week honors.Senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath picked up his second Defensive Player of the Week award this year after finishing his 16th career shutout versus Oakland and keeping out eight shots against No. 7 UC-Santa Barbara. Senior striker Brandon Miller scored each of the Badgers goals in the Panther Invite, earning him the accolade of Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.“It’s a team award, offensive and defensive,” Horwath said. “Brandon couldn’t do it by himself, I couldn’t do it by myself. Hopefully, the team takes it as motivation. We can use it as a steppingstone to get to the next level.”The whole team is looking forward to having a loud and lively student section this Friday. Yeagley believes the student support will have a huge factor in determining the outcome of the game.“With bleachers right there on the field, it can really be a boost for our team and can be an intimidating factor for the visiting team,” Yeagley said.Knowing the task ahead, the players are looking for every advantage they can to overcome Indiana.“Indiana has a young goalie,” Horwath said. “Sometimes some people get flustered. So if the students can get back there and hassle him a little bit, give him a little bit of what we normally deal with on the road, it can definitely help us. It gets us excited when we see everybody out there.”Still, the Badgers know they cannot simply rely on the home-field advantage. In 37 previous meetings between the teams, the Hoosiers hold the overwhelming advantage, boasting 30 wins, three losses and four ties.Known for their unyielding defense, the Hoosiers will be looking to stop the in-form Badgers in order to remain the favorites for the Big Ten title.“If we can just keep that confidence going from last weekend, and continue to find ways to put the ball in the back of the net … I think we’ll be all right,” said Miller, the team’s leading scorer.But it won’t be just the Wisconsin offense that will have its hands full Friday night.Sophomore Will Bruin is part of Indiana’s arsenal, coming into the game with four goals. Last year, he picked up the Big Ten Freshman of the Year award and has been the Hoosiers’ top offensive threat ever since.“[Indiana is] very good at unbalancing on the dribble,” Yeagley said. “They have some very good athletes and technical players.”The Wisconsin defensive line will be without junior Cale Cooper, who suffered a season-ending knee injury Sept. 13 versus San Diego State.“We miss Cale,” Yeagley said. “However, Eric (Conklin) has done a really nice job filling in for him and will bring a few different skill sets to that position.”Prior to his injury, Cooper started all four games for the Badgers.This game will carry extra incentive for Wisconsin with an interesting subplot. Yeagley and assistant coach Ernie Yarborough both played on the Indiana soccer team together for four years, collecting a number of titles on the way.Yeagley returned to Indiana in 2003 as an assistant coach, where he helped lead the team to four Big Ten regular season titles, two Big Ten Tournament championships and a pair of NCAA championships. Every year Yeagley was involved with the Indiana team, both as a player and coach, the Hoosiers advanced to the NCAA Tournament.“I don’t know if I’m going to have quite the emotion that some might think,” Yeagley said. “I really have a job to do, and that’s to get this group ready.”Although the coach isn’t focusing on the emotional aspect of the meeting, he admits the players are very excited for the game and are well-prepared.Despite being marked as the underdogs, the Wisconsin team is expecting a fight until the end and hopes to please a large home crowd.“The key always is that we have to focus on what we do better,” Yeagley said. “If we go out and execute our game, and be aware of their strengths and weaknesses, then we’re going to play a sound and fundamental match.”last_img

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