Rohrman’s club ends spring

first_imgThe Wisconsin men’s soccer team wrapped up its spring season this past Sunday with the annual alumni match at the McClimon Soccer Complex. The spring season, which consisted of 12 matches — including a four-match spring break trip to Miami, provided the coaches and the entire squad with a chance to observe the progress made since last fall, and to evaluate the areas of improvement needed for next fall. “[The spring season] went really well,” goalkeeper Jake Settle said. “We didn’t lose to a college team — which is a big deal, and we got a bunch of shutouts, which was good because we had only one all last fall. We lost a lot of firepower up top, but I think this spring we’ve been getting it back with some other players.”One of the tallest hurdles the Badgers will face next season will be replacing the finishing abilities and goal-scoring of graduates Nick Van Sicklen and Jed Hohlbein.“When you graduate 75 percent of your scoring, you kind of wonder where [the scoring] is going to come from,” assistant coach Nick Pasquarello said. “This spring, a lot of guys have really stepped it up. With the addition of Victor (Diaz), since he wasn’t in the equation (last fall), I think he is going to provide a lot for us up top. Reid Johnson has also done a good job of scoring some goals for us this year, as has Matt Jelacic and Eric Ortega — those are the guys we’re going to rely on to replace some that scoring that we lost through graduation.” In addition to filling the spots at the forward position, Pasquarello is also concerned about the vital gap in the midfield left by 2004 tri-captain Noah Goerlitz. Goerlitz earned second team all-Big Ten honors at defensive midfielder behind Indiana’s Danny O’Rourke, the national player of the year.“It’s very difficult to replace a guy like Noah Goerlitz,” Pasquarello said. “He came and gave it every day … he played through injury, he played through adversity, and he’s just a guy that you’d just love to coach for the rest of your life. He was an honest, hardworking player — probably one of the better defensive midfielders that we’ve had come through in a long time. Right now, we’re looking at a couple of guys to fill that role, and we’re going to have a little bit of a competition, so hopefully that competition will bring out the best in the guys.”The departure of goalkeeper Eric Hanson has also opened the door for junior Jake Settle and sophomore Mike Hood, as both will look to fill the vacant spot in net.Next fall, the current squad will welcome the arrival of forwards Eric Conklin (Rockford, Ill.) and Sam Van De Laarschot (Eden Prairie, Minn.), midfielders Scott Lorenz (Barrington, Ill.) and Kenny Dix (Atlanta, Ga.), defenders Zack Lambo (Crystal Lake, Ill.) and Andy Miller (Barrington, Ill.) and goalkeeper Byron Neal (Cincinnati, Ohio). Neal will also compete for the starting job in goal.“In terms of our recruiting class — the seven guys we have coming in next fall — we’re extremely excited,” Pasquarello said. “We are still going to be a pretty young team without any seniors, but we’re never going to let our inexperience be used as an excuse. We’re very comfortable with, and confident in the players we have and the young men we have coming in next year.”The Badgers’ depth could be boosted by the addition of walk-ons as well, as several try-out players practiced with the team during the spring.“As for the walk-ons we had this spring, we’re still going to wait and see on one or two of them — whether or not we’re going to keep them for the fall,” Pasquarello said. “We’re very pleased with the performance that [the walk-ons] gave this spring, and they kept the level of play very high for us … they kept our players honest by challenging them day in and day out.”Filling the holes left by departing seniors will not be the only difficult task faced by the squad, as a challenging and demanding schedule also awaits the team next fall. In addition to the usual tough Big Ten schedule, which features opponents such as defending NCAA champion Indiana, Wisconsin travels to three separate non-conference tournaments.“The main thing that jumps out at us about next fall is just going to be the increase in our strength of schedule,” Pasquarello said. “The Big Ten was the No. 1 ranked conference in the country last season. When you mix that with some of the non-conference opponents that we have in terms of Portland, Washington, Drake, and UNLV — who are coming to our opening tournament — and then playing Oakland and Fairleigh Dickinson, it’s going to be a very competitive and difficult schedule.”Though the team’s fall fixtures may appear intimidating, Pasquarello does not feel threatened, and believes each player will come in next season prepared for hard work and ready for the action. Despite the loss of four standout seniors, Wisconsin returns a young and balanced team that will be looking to build on last season, a year that saw the Badgers upset top-25 teams Tulsa and Penn State. “We’re expecting to have 24 or 25 guys on our roster,” Pasquarello said. “We’re also expecting most of them to produce for us at any given time and to compete for playing time right away.”last_img

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