Men's soccer: UW unbeaten in Big Toe

Badgers' smallest player comes up big in overtime win over Drake

MADISON — Sho Fujita proved Sunday that size is indeed overrated. The diminutive midfielder tallied both goals, including a game-winning header strike in overtime, to lift Wisconsin to a 2-1 victory over the Drake Bulldogs. With the win, UW captured the Big Toe Invitational title for the first time in three years.

"[Drake is] a very good team and I would guess they're going to be right there come tournament time," Wisconsin head coach Jeff Rohrman said. "They're a quality side. There's a lot of team spirit, a lot of fight in that group and a lot of talent and that's a good combination to have."

Fujita, the smallest player on the UW roster, entered the game as a substitute in each half, but made his case for a larger role in the future with his play on the pitch. Entering the game for classmate Erik Ortega in the match's 26th minute, Fujita showed the potential of being a quality playmaker in the attacking half in addition to his pair of goals, combining with midfielder Dirk Pearson to produce several threatening chances.

After nearly 41 minutes of a scoreless stalemate, Fujita put Wisconsin in front with his first career collegiate goal. Sophomore Christopher Ede headed Badger captain Aaron Hohlbein's free kick onward to Fujita, whose shot from left of the penalty spot beat Bulldog goalkeeper Phillip Breuer to give Wisconsin the 1-0 advantage.

However, Drake did anything but concede defeat in the contest. The Bulldogs had several quality chances early in the second half, but UW keeper Jake Settle continued to stand tall despite several close calls.

"They had a couple of good opportunities," Hohlbein said. "We were a little sloppy back there a few times, so it was a little scary, but overall I think we did a good job back there."

Finally Drake's hard work paid off in the form of a Luke Frieberg goal in the 67th minute. Midfielder Jesse Baker created the score with a possessing run from the right wing to the top of the 18-yard box and a beautiful through ball to a cutting Frieberg.

Quality play in front of net by Settle kept the match tied through regulation, and in sudden death overtime Fujita once again stepped to the forefront, heading home a flick on from Reid Johnson just 46 seconds into the extra session for the win. Freshman left back Zack Lambo provided the service for Johnson, who headed the ball over a charging Breuer to give Fujita an open net.

"It's great for Sho," Rohrman said. "It's nice, now he can tell people that he actually got a head goal. The shortest guy on the field headed the ball home for the winner."

Notes: Fujita earned Most Valuable Offensive Player honors for the tournament, while Hohlbein earned Most Valuable Defensive Player … In addition to Fujita and Hohlbein, Settle and Johnson made the all-tournament team … Freshman Andy Miller started at right back instead of Nick Caronna, who got the call in Friday's win over UNLV … Reserve defender William Bagayoko played after missing the UNLV game.


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