Stevenson Sends Panthers Home A Winner Against Huskies
Nov. 2, 2011
MILWAUKEE - Freshman Zach Stevenson scored the only goal of the game and junior John Shakon made nine saves to lead the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team to a 1-0 victory over Northern Illinois University Wednesday night at Engelmann Stadium.
On a cold, windy night in a game played in a downpour throughout, Stevenson picked an opportune time to tally his first collegiate goal, giving the Panthers (6-9-2) the win over the Huskies (11-5-0), who came in ranked fifth in the NSCAA Great lakes region, and possession of the LeWang Trophy.
The defense did the rest, turning back a strong second-half NIU attack to give UWM possession of all three traveling trophies it plays for (Milwaukee Cup v. Marquette/Chancellor's Cup v. Green Bay) for the first time since the end of the 2004 campaign.
"It's fantastic to win the trophy and get all three, but the big thing is we got back in the win column," Milwaukee head coach Chris Whalley said. "Hopefully this will be the confidence that the guys need to keep going and go down to UIC and secure our place in the conference tournament and see where it takes us from there."
Northern Illinois was able to put together some offense first on the rainy evening, recording three of the first four shots of the game. Following an NIU foul, senior Ross Van Osdol sent a free kick into the penalty area that was cleared back to Stevenson. After taking a few quick touches, he blasted a shot from over 30 yards away to the upper-right corner, giving Milwaukee a 1-0 lead at the 13:52 mark.
"It felt like a once-in-a-lifetime goal, but most importantly, we got the win and that is all that really matters," Stevenson said.
The goal snapped a scoreless streak of 287:28 by NIU keeper Jordan Godsey and gave UWM much-needed momentum in the match.
"We battled and competed and that was a great result for us and really showed a lot of character," Whalley said. "What's good for us is we took the chance when it came along and it changed the game. He hit a great goal and I don't think many goalkeepers would have saved it."
In the second half, the Panther defense held strong, turning away 14 shots over the final 45 minutes. Shakon was at his best after intermission, making a pair of tremendous saves.
The first came at the 53:44 mark. He made a diving save at the post of a free kick by NIU's Karim Darbaki, but was unable to hold onto the ball. It fell to the feet of James Stevenson who netted the ball, but was ruled offside with the game remaining at 1-0.
Then, in the 70th minute, Shakon made a point-blank save of a shot by Finn Jor that appeared headed into the net.
The Panthers looked to try and add an insurance goal in the 80th minute, but Godsey was up to the task with one of his five saves. After a nice buildup by sophomore Riley Weiner and senior Robert Refai, senior Keegan Ziada's shot at the far post was saved nicely.
For the match, UWM was outshot, 21-to-10, including a 9-to-6 edge in shots on goal. NIU earned six of the eight corner kicks and was whistled for eight of the 23 fouls. Van Osdol paced the Panther offense with three shots.
Up next, Milwaukee closes out the season with an important Horizon League matchup against UIC. Game time in Chicago is set for 7 p.m. Saturday evening.