UW Soccer Season Ends in NCAA Sweet 16 Heartbreaker - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

UW Soccer Season Ends in NCAA Sweet 16 Heartbreaker

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AKRON, Ohio – A magical season came to an end for the Wisconsin men’s soccer team on Saturday night. The Badgers put up a hard-fought battle against fifth-seeded Akron but fell 3-2 in overtime.

Wisconsin was the only team to score two goals on Akron the entire season.

Akron got on the board early in the 14th minute via a goal by Sam Gainford from 25 yards out.

But the Badgers evened up the score in the 26th minute off of a set piece, not surprisingly. Senior Chris Mueller showed once again why he is the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year, playing back a ball to fellow senior Mike Catalano from the endline into the center after the free kick. Catalano lasered in the equalizer for his ninth goal of the season.

And it was the dream team again in the 76th minute. Mueller sent a free kick into the box and Catalano finished it off. It marked Catalano’s 10th goal of the season and 19th of his career and Mueller’s 20th assist on the season and 35th of his career.

Catalano and Mueller combined for goals in every single one of the Badgers’ NCAA games this season and on six total goals this year.

But the Zips had the final say, sending in the golden goal in the 92nd minute. Stuart Holthusen scored off a ball played in from the corner of the box.

The Badgers finished the season as the outright Big Ten Tournament champions for the first time in school history and made the school’s third-ever appearance in the Sweet 16.

Straight from the Pitch: 
Head coach John Trask

“Congratulations to the University of Akron. It was a great soccer game -- the type of match you expected in the round of 16. A lot of individual ability from both teams. The environment the game was played in was probably the best part of the contest. It was a special game. The field was beautiful; the atmosphere was incredible. I didn’t expect anything less. One team had to go down today and unfortunately it was the University of Wisconsin. But I’ll take that type of effort out of my guys any day of the week. I think we showed people who we are as team.”

“Chris is a phenomenal player. He picked up two assists today which makes 20 on the year… that is basically an assist a game. He had a great free kick that caught the underside of the crossbar. Chris is a magical senior who will go on to play at the next level. All of our seniors make up a group that will leave a lasting legacy. I feel like this time there is a new standard for people who are going to represent us. I know the alumni and administration will be proud of the effort we put forth today. Once again, congrats to Akron.”

--Wisconsin Athletic Communications

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