The junior defender and captain punched home a pair of second half goals for a Wisconsin club that out shot UNLV 17-7, putting six of them on goal to the Running Rebels' four. Hohlbein's header tally and strike from the penalty spot also gave head coach Jeff Rohrman's club its first season opening win since 2002 in a match that yielded four yellow cards and a red for UNLV.
"It was a physical game, tough game," Hohlbein said. "It's good to pull those out. That's just going to be like a tournament game if we get there. Those physical games, you just have to keep playing through and it was nice to come out with a win."
Wisconsin controlled possession from the outset of the match, but struggled to connect its passes in the final third of the field early on, opening the door for UNLV. The Rebels struck first despite being outplayed save for a few runs down the left wing.
After winning an attempted Badger long ball, the Rebels built through the midfield, with senior Rod Dyachenko finishing on a low strike from the top of the 18-yard box in the match's 15th minute.
Wisconsin continued to flounder its chances, with forwards Reid Johnson and Matthew Jelacic each misfiring and struggling to control loose balls around the box. However, Wisconsin showed resolve and continued to pressure a UNLV team whose offense seemed to disappear for long stretches of time in both halves.
"I thought as a group we responded really well to a challenging yet somewhat frustrating first half," Rohrman said. "Because we're down 1-0, and when you look at the stats it's one-way traffic and we should have certainly come away with a little different result at half time than what it was."
Hohlbein made a splendid run in possession that covered nearly the length of the field in the 63rd minute of the match only to have his first shot blocked by a Rebel defender and the ensuing volley attempt bounce harmlessly off the right post.
However, the Badger captain would find redemption just less than seven minutes later. A Rebel handball presented UW with yet another opportunity on a set piece, and freshman defender Zack Lambo offered a brilliant far post service from the left flank. Hohlbein emerged from a pack of players and headed the ball home into the lower corner of the net.
"I saw [Lambo] lining up, saw an opening at the back post and I kind of just slid myself in between two defenders and it came right in," Hohlbein said. "He served a perfect ball and I was fortunate enough to be on the end of it."
Hohlbein and the Badgers continued to take advantage of aggressive mistakes from the Rebel backline. Redshirt freshman Victor Diaz used a sparkling run down the right wing to maneuver his way into the box, where an aggressive UNLV tackle gave Wisconsin a penalty kick, which Hohlbein promptly buried in the lower right corner.
UW goalkeeper Jake Settle tipped away a Dyachenko shot in the 90th minute to save Wisconsin from a late UNLV scare and preserve the win.
"I give our guys credit," Rohrman said. "They battled, they showed great character and they found a way to get it done and in the past, we haven't always done that."
Volleyball trumps Spartans; downs Weber State
The No. 10 Wisconsin volleyball team opened its season with a 30-28, 30-22, 30-15 win over San Jose State (2-1) Friday afternoon at the Air Force Falcon Invitational in Colorado Springs, Colo. The Badgers went on to defeat Weber State 30-27, 30-27, 30-26 in the second round to advance to the championship game to face Butler Saturday.
Reineke, who also had four blocks, had a career-best hitting percentage of .818 and no errors.
Senior middle blocker Sheila Shaw earned a match-high eight blocks, while sophomore outside hitter/libero Jocelyn Wack led the Badgers with 11 digs and recorded two service aces.
Wisconsin got off to a slow start in its early match, according to head coach Pete Waite, but the Badgers still controlled the net, hitting .313 to the Spartans' .017, and out-blocking them 12-5.
"It's an okay start," Waite said. "We'll only get better."
In the Badgers' second match of the day, Jeffers reigned with 13 kills in two games, including nine in the first game and a stretch of four consecutive.
Wisconsin hit .299 and had 14 team blocks, keeping Wayne State's hitting percentage to .180. Reineke and sophomore setter Jackie Simpson each had seven blocks in the effort; Simpson also recorded 43 assists in three games. Wack again led the team with 14 digs.
After winning game one, Wisconsin fought its way back from a 17-8 deficit with an 11-2 run, tying the game at 19. From there, Wisconsin built its lead to 29-26, sealing the win with a kill from Reineke. In the third game, Wisconsin led 19-14 but it was Weber State which made a comeback. After being tied at 21 and later 25, junior middle blocker Amy Bladow, who is from nearby Monument, Colo., scored two of the last five points to win.
Women's soccer shuts out Sooners
The Wisconsin women's soccer team downed Oklahoma 2-0 Friday, thanks to Amy Vermeulen, who recorded both of Wisconsin's goals.
The senior midfielder/forward scored a goal at 27:19 off an assist from junior forward/midfielder Allison Preiss, and a penalty kick at 59 minutes to lead Wisconsin to a win in its home opener. The No. 25 Badgers hosted OU as part of the Big Ten/Big 12 Challenge.
Wisconsin out-shot Oklahoma 9-4, although the Sooners had four corner kicks to Wisconsin's two. Badger goaltender Lynn Murray recorded two saves to OU goalie Jennifer Nichols' three.
"I am pleased with the win," head coach Dean Duerst said. "I know we can play better. I have high expectations for this team, and we will continue to learn and improve."
Wisconsin faces Oklahoma State Sunday at 11:30 a.m.