Zack Klancnik’s shirt came off and the party was on.
The defender somehow put the ball over the goal line in the 106th minute of the game to give the Wisconsin Badgers men’s soccer team (1-1-0 Big Ten, 3-4-1 overall) a stunning 2-1 victory in double overtime on the road against the Maryland Terrapins (1-1-0, 2-3-2).
Junior midfielder Noah Leibold served the ball into the box from about 25 yards away and Klancnik headed the ball. Maryland junior goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair somehow got a fingertip save on the ball, but it fell right into the path of the Klancnik for him to scramble it over the line.
While the Terps thought there was a hint of a handball, the sophomore from Arlington Heights, Illinois didn’t care as he ran off in celebration, ripping his shirt off as the stunned Maryland crowd looked on.
The game almost didn’t go into overtime. Maryland opened the game in the seventh minute, scoring as junior forward Paul Bin slotted home from close range after a great cross by sophomore forward Eric Matzelevich to give the Terps an early 1-0 lead.
The Terps dominated the first half, but the Badgers found a response in the second half, much like in their last game against Indiana.
“I felt it was a kind of a tale of two halves,” head coach John Trask said. “They were the better team in the first half and we were in the second.”
Wisconsin left it late to mount a comeback, but found a breakthrough after their improved performance. Freshman forward Andrew Akindele stole the ball away from a Maryland defender and was through on goal after cutting inside. He passed the ball across the goalmouth where it found sophomore midfielder Michael Russell.
The former walk-on had his shot initially saved by St. Clair but made the most of his second chance as he scored his first career goal for the Badgers with only 53 seconds left on the game clock. Russell shushed the rowdy Maryland crowd in his celebration as Wisconsin forced the extra overtime periods.
The game was a battle through out, as tackles started flying in as overtime started. Sophomore defender Ben Leas literally felt the battle as he came out of the game after a boot to the face gave him a gash near his eyebrows, and players on both sides were cramping up on the humid night.
But Wisconsin scrapped and fought its way to the end of the game, making the most of their chances. In fact, the goal off the set piece was set up by a foul on junior midfielder Mitch Guitar. Guitar intercepted the ball in the Maryland half and continued a lung busting run all the way to just outside the box. The ensuing free kick gave the Badgers the chance, and Klancnik gave UW a key, confidence boosting win.
“I don’t know the record Maryland has playing at home in College Park over the past 15 years, but I do know that teams don’t usually come in here and leave with a win,” Trask said.
While the goals may have come from unexpected places, Wisconsin was able to get the road win, but there’s still a long time left in the season, and the Badgers are moving on to the next game of a three-game road trip.
“Our focus turns to Wednesday [9/26] against Marquette at their place and then another huge Big Ten game against an elite Michigan State team,” Trask said.