Panthers Hand Butler First League Loss At Home Since 2007
Sept. 24, 2011
INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team opened Horizon League play with an impressive victory, scoring a pair of second-half goals to knock off Butler University, 3-1, Saturday afternoon at the Butler Bowl.
With the win the Panthers (4-4-0, 1-0-0 Horizon) snap a couple of long streaks against the two-time defending league champ Bulldogs (4-3-1, 0-1-0 Horizon). First off, it ended BU's 10-game unbeaten streak (9-0-1) in league play while also handing the Bulldogs their first league loss at home since 2007 - snapping that unbeaten streak at 15 (11-0-4).
"Obviously, it's a great victory for the program and we're really excited about the result," UWM head coach Chris Whalley said. "We started eight freshmen and played very well in the second half. The guys really responded after halftime and took their chances very well. I was really pleased with the way we played."
Senior Robert Refai and freshman Nick Langford netted second-half strikes for the Panthers. Milwaukee dominated the run of play and possession in the second half, taking over the game after Refai tallied the eventual game-winner less then four minutes into the second half. The team recorded a 10-to-3 advantage in shots after intermission, giving them a nearly 2-to-1 edge for the match.
"At the start of the second half we had two or three big chances and took two of them," Whalley said. "We defended better in the second half and everyone stepped up their all-around performance. We weren't as free-flowing or at our best but everybody increased their work rate and level of commitment and I think that's why we got the win."
Also of note in this game was the debut of UWM freshman goalkeeper Josh Rohde, who ended the day with three saves and one goal allowed to earn the victory.
"I thought Josh did well today," Whalley said. "He settled in very well - that's a difficult place to play against a Butler team that had not been beaten at home in conference since 2007. He took some good crosses and did a nice job. It was a great way for him to start and the defense played very well today too."
Refai's game-winner came at the 48:36 mark, running on to a lead pass from senior Keegan Ziada. He beat the charging keeper to the ball, scoring easily from about 15 yards out for his fourth of the year. The play came off a quick restart from freshman Adam Hutchinson following a foul and definitely gave UWM control of the game.
Langford then found the back of the net in the 71st minute to give UWM a big insurance goal, heading in a serve from freshman Gerardo Saavedra at the post. Saavedra took a corner kick and had the ball come right back to him, recording his second assist on the day with the assist on Langford's second goal of the season.
Langford had a game-high five shots in the match and had a chance to make it a three-goal cushion late. In the 81st minute he found himself alone in the box but had his attempt saved. Just 25 seconds later, Langford had another crack at it but Jon Dawson was again able to make the stop.
The game had a bit of everything, with the UWM defense playing very well on the day. In fact, the team had to play down a man the final eight-plus minutes after a second yellow card to freshman Zach Stevenson, but did not allow any Butler shots the rest of the way.
Scoring at the 3:37 mark gave the Panthers some early momentum and they kept the Bulldogs off their game for the large majority of the first half. Neither team had many chances in the first, but Butler did finally break through at the 37:03 mark when Zach Steinberger calmly finished a through ball from about 15 yards out to the far post to equalize the match.
"Butler is a very good team, they are very well-coached," Whalley said. "Coach (Paul) Snape has come in here and done a very good job with them and they've played good soccer. They were probably the better team in the first half. We got to halftime and had to talk and organized the guys a little better and get them on the same page. We were pleased to get to halftime tied under those circumstances and restart in the second half."
Milwaukee pressed forward before the intermission and nearly netted the lead back. Senior Ross Van Osdol took a square ball at the top of the box and found Refai at the post for what looked like a 2-1 lead with under two minutes to play in the half. However, the goal was waved off due to an offsides call.
For the game, Milwaukee held a 13-to-7 advantage in shots which included an 8-to-4 count in shots on target. Both teams earned four corner kicks, with UWM being whistled for 17 of the 25 fouls in the game and booked for five of the six yellow cards.
The Panthers continue Horizon League play with a pair of home games, hosting Green Bay for the Chancellor's Cup Wednesday and then Cleveland State Saturday. Both games kick off at 7 p.m.