Milwaukee Claims Championship At 38th Panther Invitational
Sept. 2, 2012
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team scored a goal in each half to claim the team title at the 38th Panther Invitational courtesy of a 2-0 victory over Eastern Illinois University Sunday afternoon at Engelmann Stadium.
"I am excited for the guys," Milwaukee head coach Kris Kelderman said. "They worked hard. Half the group is new, so to get two results this weekend and win the tournament is a really good start for us."
Sophomore Laurie Bell tallied the game-winner in just the fourth minute and senior Jamie Bladen added an insurance goal late in the contest as the UWM Panthers (3-1-0) recorded their first shutout of the season against the EIU Panthers (1-3-0) in front of a crowd of 1,608.
Milwaukee and Canisius both went 2-0 on the weekend, but the UWM goal differential of +3 gave it the tiebreaker and the team title for the second straight season. IUPUI (0-2; third) and Eastern Illinois (0-2; fourth) rounded out the tournament field.
"I thought we had control of the game and the tempo," Kelderman said. "We had a bunch of good chances, but that has kind of been our issue the past couple of games. We have created a lot of chances and shots; we just need to be sharper in finishing. We have to make it easier on ourselves and bury our chances. But, we are getting there."
Bell, named the Tournament MVP, made the early statement when he got UWM on the scoreboard at the 3:21 mark. Sophomore Richard Johnson sent in a long serve from the right sideline, which was headed by sophomore Zach Stevenson to Bell in the middle. After a couple of touches, Bell buried his third goal of the season to give his team the 1-0 lead.
He nearly had another goal early in the second half, but his blast off another nice set-up by Stevenson was saved nicely at the post.
Senior goalkeeper John Shakon earned his 12th career shutout, making six saves overall including a beauty in the 66th minute with the Panthers still clinging to that 1-0 lead. Shakon charged off his line on a breakaway attempt, blocking the shot off the foot of the EIU forward which looked to be headed towards an open net.
He added an impressive one-handed save on a header in the 45th minute, stopping the shot that came off a corner kick right at the post.
Bladen added the insurance goal at the 78:51 mark, bending a 20-yard free kick around the wall and just inside the post for his first goal of the year.
Things could have gone differently, but EIU missed a penalty kick just seconds after halftime, sending the PK over the cross bar, preserving the UWM lead. Eastern also had a slow-roller go off the post in the 24th minute.
"I thought the second half was a little bit different," Kelderman said. "We faded a little bit and the other team came on. We were fortunate that they missed the penalty kick because I think that would have changed the tempo of the game. But, we rebounded well and got the second goal and a good result."
Freshman Aaron Horvat had a team-high five shots and was denied a pair of goals by EIU defenders at the goal line. In the 19th minute, he lobbed a partially-saved shot by Stevenson over the goalkeeper's head but the last defender headed it away. Then, in the 33rd minute, the same thing happened again after carrying the ball into the penalty area and beating the keeper.
Overall, UWM held advantages of 22-to-15 in shots and 8-to-6 in shots on goal. Both teams had seven corner kicks and 12 fouls.
The Panthers have the week off, next heading on their first out-of-town road trip when they take on Xavier Sept. 9. That game gets underway at 12 p.m. CST.
38th Panther Invitational All-Tournament Team