Panthers Play UIC Sunday With NCAA Tournament On The Line
Nov. 16, 2013
CHICAGO, Ill. - Horizon League Player of the Year Laurie Bell scored in the 13th minute and senior Andrew Stone added an insurance strike in the 38th as the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team defeated Oakland University, 2-0, Saturday afternoon in the semifinals of the Horizon League Tournament.
The Panthers (14-2-2) topped the Grizzlies (7-7-5) to earn a spot in the league championship, set to be played Sunday at Flames Field in Chicago with a start time of 2 p.m.
"It's exciting," Milwaukee head coach Kris Kelderman said. "Laurie's first goal was unbelievable and it's very fitting that he would be the guy to do something like that. He's been carrying us as far as goal-scoring goes this season and I knew he would be the guy to step up and make a play and he did exactly that today. Stone made a statement as well and helped us with our victory today as well."
The defense limited Oakland to just a pair of shots on goal in the contest, which was played under rainy and windy conditions that picked up noticeably in the second half.
"It was two halves," Kelderman said. "It was two different styles of soccer that you had to adjust to and play. With the wind, you have to be aggressive and go forward and you have to attack hard and take advantage of it. Against the wind you have to weather the storm and I think we handled both scenarios well tonight."
Freshman Liam Anderson made a pair of saves to pick up his ninth shutout of the season, just one off the school mark of 10.
Bell seemingly caught everyone off-guard with his 13th goal of the season, sending a long chip shot into the wind from near the sideline. It went up-and-over the outstretched keeper, banging in off the top right crossbar to give Milwaukee the 1-0 lead at the 12:22 mark.
Stone was in the right place at the right time for his goal, burying a shot attempt by sophomore Declan Rodriguez that was blocked by the defense right to him. He one-timed it past the diving keeper, just inside the left post to make it 2-0 at the 37:49 mark.
The Panthers dominated possession on the day and really made Oakland work in the second half. By the end of the contest, the rain was coming down in sheets and the flags were sideways, but the Grizzlies were having a tough enough time even possessing the ball, let along getting off shots, while frantically in search of any type of offense.
The Panthers had a couple of decent chances to find a third goal, but a great stop by OU keeper Sean Lewis in the 75th minute kept freshman Kostas Kotselas from scoring for the second-straight game on a close-range shot from the right wing. Senior Robbie Boyd was also denied in the 22nd minute on a one-on-one chance after running onto a thru ball after the defense had expected the offsides flag to go up.
For the game, Milwaukee held advantages of 12-10 in shots and 7-to-2 in shots on goal. Oakland recorded six of the 11 corner kicks and 25 of the 40 fouls, also taking three yellow cards and a late red card as well.
The Panthers will look to earn their ninth all-time trip to the NCAA Tournament tomorrow when they take on the top-seeded host UIC. The Flames advanced in the opening semifinal, surviving Wright State, 1-0, on a penalty kick in the 92nd minute of overtime.
"We have been working our butts off all season long," Kelderman said. "Amongst ourselves, we had expectations and one of them was to be here. We made it, we deserve to be here and certainly excited for one more match."
Kick off tomorrow is set for 2 p.m. and will be carried live on the Horizon League Network with Justin Weiner on the call.