Coming into Wednesday’s match with Wisconsin (3-10-3, 0-6-1 B1G), the future of the Wildcats men’s soccer team (8-5-3, 3-1-3 B1G) was very much in flux. One thing was certain, however. They were going to the Big Ten tournament. With all nine Big ten teams in action, it was a scoreboard-watcher’s dream.
For the number one spot, the Wildcats needed a win. But they also needed some help from Rutgers, as they needed a Maryland loss as well.
At the 10′ mark, junior forward Joey Calistri notched the first Wildcats goal, off of an assist from sophomore midfielder Jeffrey Hopson. For Calistri it was his fifth goal of the season — and his first goal in exactly a month. It also was his first home goal since the Lakeside Classic on August 31.
Then they didn’t get any assistance from the Scarlet Knights, as they were defeated 3-1.
The Wildcats still had a chance for the number two seed in the tournament. But it was not in their control — they needed Michigan to notch a victory over Ohio State.
Five minutes into the second half, Calistri struck again. He knocked in a close-range goal with assists from freshman midfielder Sam Forsgren and senior midfielder Eric Weberman.
Northwestern got some more bad luck. Ohio State defeated Michigan by a score of 2-1.
But thanks to senior goalkeeper Tyler Miller being his usual strong self, saving six Badgers shot attempts en route to another blank slate, the Wildcats won by a score of 2-0, clinching the third seed in the Big Ten tournament.
The victory set the Wildcats up for a first-round matchup with the sixth-seeded Indiana Hoosiers (11-3-4, 3-3-2 B1G) on Sunday at 12 p.m. The Hoosiers, who are ranked second in the nation, will pose a strong threat to the Wildcats’ postseason hopes.