In the last 10 seconds of regulation, the Michigan men’s soccer team almost earned a penalty kick. The near buzzer beater would have been the highlight of the season for Michigan if it was not a clean slide tackle. The Wolverines (7-4-4 overall, 2-1-3 Big Ten) tied 1-1 against the Wisconsin Badgers (2-10-3, 0-4-2), in what seemed to be a lopsided soccer game. Michigan dominated Wisconsin in shots 17 to eight. Michigan was in complete control throughout the entire match. It was a frustrating result for the Wolverines who held the majority of the clinical chances.
“We really had clear cut-chances, but I think we absolutely dominated the match from start to finish,” said Michigan head coach Chaka Daley. “There was 22 fouls here, and 13 corners. With all of that, we had a lot of opportunities. Wisconsin fought for their lives because they had to with no real chances for them.”
Michigan was knocking on the door five minutes into the second half while looking for the first goal of the game. Sophomore forward Soso Emovon provided a spark off the bench for the Wolverines. He led one of Michigan’s best chances to score in the 48th minute. Emovon thunderously ran down the right side of the pitch and crossed the ball to freshman midfielder Harry Pithers. Pithers was unable to make a strike on the left alone ball from five yards out.
In the 75th minute, the Wolverines’ ultra attacking efforts finally paid off. Senior forward Jack Hallahan tapped the ball around the 15-yard box which cleared off the shin of a Badger defender into the back of the net for an own goal.
Two minutes after the own goal, junior midfielder Marc Ybarra’s tackle led to a questionable penalty call. Badger midfielder Noah Leibold shimmied his way into sinking the goal down the middle for Wisconsin. Daley had no issues with the penalty. “There was a small patch of opportunity, and I was not able to see the penalty call,” Daley said. “It was out of our hands.”
Senior goalkeeper Andrew Verdi was the most important player for the Wolverines. Verdi was carried out with an injury during overtime, but his efforts were not unnoticed. Five minutes into extra time, Verdi made a miraculous save in, “what seemed to be a sure goal well outside the penalty box,” Daley said. “He was excellent. Andrew saved our butt in overtime. He made two great saves and hopefully he’s okay.”