Panthers Overcome Two-Goal Deficit To Retain Chancellor's Cup
Oct. 3, 2012
GREEN BAY, Wis. - Sophomore Laurie Bell and freshman Patrick Ruhland scored second-half goals to help the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team earn a hard-fought 2-2 tie against the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay Wednesday evening at Alda Santaga Stadium.
The Panthers (4-4-2, 0-0-2 Horizon League) dominated the stat sheet against the Phoenix (2-7-2, 0-2-2 Horizon League), overcoming a 2-0 deficit with an impressive comeback performance that helps them keep possession of the Chancellor's Cup.
"That was a real character check - we went down two goals on the road in a big game like this - and it was interesting to see how they responded," UWM head coach Kris Kelderman said. "I was proud of the guys. They kept their composure and maintained our patience, battled back and scored two goals."
Senior goalkeeper John Shakon ended the night with six saves, but none more important than three that came in the final minutes of the night. For the third-straight year, the Chancellor's Cup match went to double-overtime, and Shakon made sure the Panthers took the trophy back home with them when he saved three different shots over a 10-second span, all coming inside the six-yard box and all coming at different angles in the 108th minute.
"John came up big at the very end," Kelderman said. "I think he tried to do his best to redeem himself. It's a performance that I am very pleased with being down two goals. It's a really big trophy and I am glad I get to keep turning around in my office and looking at it."
Milwaukee certainly had the advantage in possession and shots in the overtime periods, taking 10 of the 15 after regulation despite not being able to find the golden goal.
After falling down, 2-0, in the 50th minute, UWM looked like a different team. Ruhland got the Panthers on the board in the 55th minute, sending home a shot from the flank of the penalty area on a tough angle. He picked up a loose ball after a deflection, took a touch and found the upper corner of the far post at the 54:05 mark.
"I think we just calmed down and started playing," Kelderman said. "They [Green Bay] are a team that plays on a lot of emotion and they got a couple of goals and they were flying. I think we got a little more organized, our shape was better and we were much more patient."
Bell tallied his team-leading fifth goal of the season and it came unexpectedly. After sophomore Zach Stevenson earned his team a free kick from the sideline, Bell sent the free kick towards the far post. Players from both teams went high after it, but it found the back of the net at the 76:20 mark to make it a new game.
Milwaukee continued to apply pressure relentlessly on the offensive side, with junior Kevin Ferron grabbing a turnover and getting a close look in the 78th minute and freshman Declan Rodriguez blasting one from distance in the 83rd minute that went just wide as well.
The first half was dominated in spurts by both teams, with UWM eventually holding an 8-to-6 edge in shots at the break. Green Bay had just a pair on target but made one of them count, getting on the scoreboard in the 31st minute to take that 1-0 edge at halftime.
The play started from long-range, as a 40-yard serve was sent into the box. Shakon came off his line to try and corral it, but Whitney Browne was able to get a head on it at the same time. The ball was not hit hard, but ended up over Shakon's head and slowly into the net at the 30:54 mark.
The Milwaukee offense had a couple of decent scoring chances, including a run by Ferron through the defense all the way into the penalty area that was saved nicely at the near post in the 37th minute. A couple of other dangerous chances by reshman Aaron Horvat were wiped away by offsides calls.
The defense did a nice job to keep it at 1-0, with Shakon making an impressive save in the eighth minute and senior Jamie Bladen running one down and clearing it off the line in the 25th minute.
The final shot tally was 34-to-18 in UWM's favor, which included a 9-to-9 tie in shots on target. The Panthers also had seven of the eight corner kicks in the match. Sophomore Richard Johnson led the team with a career-high seven shots.
Milwaukee finally returns home after more than a month of road games, heading back to Engelmann Stadium Saturday to host UIC. The league rivalry is set for a 7 p.m. kickoff.