November 13, 3016
Kathryn L. Knapp
WILL THEY ADVANCE?
Will Wisconsin make NCAA Tournament?
Chicagoland Soccer News Contributing Editor
WESTFIELD, Ind. – Entering into the Big Ten Tournament, No. 18 Wisconsin’s post-season fate was unknown. After Sunday’s final match, a 2-1 loss to No. 1 Maryland, it’s still unknown what will happen to the Badgers. Will they or won’t they advance to the NCAA Tournament?
“I’m very proud of my guys,” Wisconsin head coach John Trask said. “We went from a team that had five wins last season to where we are as a group. It was a heck of a season.”
The one thing that is known for sure is that Wisconsin improved tremendously from last season. The Badgers (11-4-4) managed a 5-11-3 record in 2015. This season they more than doubled their wins in 2015, while becoming a force to reckon with both offensively and defensively. The offense combined for 30 goals, while the defense allowed only 15 goals. Goalkeeper Philipp Schilling allowed 14 goals, while making 64 saves and posting six shutouts. Schilling’s 0.73 goals against average is among the best in the nation.
In Sunday’s championship match, five Badgers combined for 11 shots. Tom Barlow led the attack with four shots, including three on goal. Mike Catalano was one shot behind, with three (two on goal). The defense held the top team in the nation to 13 shots. They nearly silenced leading scorer Gordon Wild, who managed two shots (one on goal). Schilling made five saves on the afternoon, while allowing two goals for only the third time this season. The other two times Wisconsin allowed two or more goals, the Badgers posted losses (September 23 – a 2-1 loss at Penn State, October 14 – a 3-2 loss at Maryland). Wisconsin suffered only one more loss 1-0 to FIU September 2nd.
Wisconsin last made a NCAA Tournament appearance in 2013, topping Milwaukee 1-0, before falling to eventual champion Notre Dame 4-0. The Badgers have made 14 all-time appearances in Tournament play, posting a 9-5-0 record.
Going into the weekend, the Badgers were ranked 43rd in RPI (Ratings Percentage Index). The NCAA Tournament field is made up of 48 teams. All 24 Division I conferences receive an automatic bid, by winning their respective conference tournament. Only time will tell if the NCAA Tournament Committee puts them through.