Aug. 26, 2004
Two seasons with Jeff Rohrman at the helm for the Badgers has re-established Wisconsin as a contender in the soccer world as the program continues to move forward.
Wisconsin's 2004 roster reflects the youth and promise of Rohrman's tenure. Nineteen of the 25 athletes are freshmen or sophomores. Still, the 12 returning sophomores now have a season of collegiate experience and the seven true freshmen bring a wealth of talent and prep accomplishments.
"I am never one to let us use our youth as an excuse," said Rohrman. "I think we are going to be a very talented team. This class coming in will certainly provide us with a great deal of depth and increase our talent pool overall. All of the players are capable of competing right away and over the course of their four years will have a tremendous impact on the program. I'm looking forward to some great things from them."
The UW will enjoy a solid core of leadership anchored by five seniors, Eric Hanson, Noah Goerlitz, David Martinez, Nick Van Sicklen and Jed Hohlbein. The latter three were the 2003 leading scorers while Hanson made 88 saves, third-most in the conference, and Goerlitz clocked more minutes than any other midfielder.
"We have five seniors that are looking forward to closing out their college careers in the right way and their leadership is going to be key. We are capable of doing some great things, it is just a matter of how quickly we blend it all together."
The Wisconsin men's soccer program has made great strides in the past two seasons and hasn't shown any signs of stopping.
In 2001 the team earned its first national ranking (22) since 1997 and rose as high as third in the Great Lakes regional rankings. Some key victories fueled the UW's season, including a sweep of the Badgers' season-opening home tournament. In their Big Ten home-opener the No. 22 Badgers upset No. 20 Penn State, 2-1, and finished the regular season tied for second in the conference
Last season, the Badgers compiled an 11-10-1 record and advanced to the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament for the first time since 1998. The 2-0 upset over Ohio State sent the UW to battle Indiana. After 80 minutes of scoreless action, the Hoosiers snuck one in the net and held on for the win.
Wisconsin's 300th program win came at the expense of the Marquette Golden Eagles on Oct. 15. Wins 298 and 299 were also important wins for the Badgers, UW marked back-to-back shutouts over Penn State and UW-Milwaukee on the road.
In two seasons under Rohrman, Wisconsin registered 13 shutouts, inked its 300th program win and received six Big Ten Player of the Week honors for four athletes. In addition, UW has placed four athletes on All-Big Ten teams and three athletes on all-region teams.
"It's nice to have a younger backline to combine with the experience we have in goal with Eric (Hanson). I think we are going to be capable of putting a few shutouts on the board this fall. That's certainly going to be our goal."
"We are going to have a much deeper midfield, but I think one of our challenges is going to be finding the right blend of guys to be out there. We have a diverse group of players that will allow us to be very flexible in how we play. We'll have the depth, talent and versatility to try some different options in the midfield."
Madison area natives Hohlbein and Van Sicklen will be the UW's primary players to watch for goal production.
"I'm looking forward to a good year from both of those guys which will help us have the type of season that we all feel we are capable of."
In the Net
"Eric brings in senior leadership and some of those intangibles that we will need on the field this fall. I think with Eric we have one of the top goalkeepers in the league if not the region. He has demonstrated that he is capable of coming up big for us when we need him."
Still, Hanson will certainly feel a push from sophomore Jake Settle. Settle stepped in for two starts when Hanson was injured. His shutout against Illinois-Chicago earned him recognition as the Big Ten Player of the Week, Sept. 29.
"Jake is a young man who had a solid fall and I fully expect him to have another good season for us."
Three deep in the net, Mike Hood rounds out Wisconsin's keeper roster. Hood redshirted his freshman campaign, but should serve the Badgers well with a year under his belt.