Men's Soccer: Spring Game Report vs. Northwestern
April 12, 2012
MILWAUKEE - The Panthers have six games scheduled for the spring season, which began on April 1. Assistant coach Ben Shepherd will again take time to report on how each match went.
Sunday saw the guys take the field as a team for the first time since last November against a very good Northwestern side who won the Big Ten this year and advanced to the NCAA National Tournament for the 5th time in the last 6 years. So, we were all aware that we faced a stern test for our opening spring contest.
We started the game in good fashion and kept the ball well for extended periods of time and looked to try and play the passing game that we had been working on the entire week of training which was good to see. Northwestern also looked to try and play the right way, which made for an entertaining half which was far more competitive than the average spring game - which sometimes lacks any form of real edge or intensity.
Kevin Ferron came closest to breaking the deadlock with an excellent effort from 20 yards out towards the end of the half which the Northwestern keeper did well to keep out and at half time we went in at 0-0 satisfied with our performance.
We again started the second half well and continued to look to pass the ball and play our way creating a few half chances without really testing their keeper enough. But by the midpoint of the half, Northwestern's match fitness after already tying Wake Forest this spring seemed to hand them the initiative. It was during this period that our play became a little sloppy - more through fatigue than anything else - and they were able to force the ball home after a few ricochets in our box to open the scoring which was unfortunate on our part.
To our guys credit, we battled back and seemed to find our second wind and pushed for an equalizer and Kevin Ferron had a goal disallowed for a foul on the keeper and Cody Banks had a header that went narrowly over and it was Northwestern that seemed to be holding on at the end.
Unfortunately, we were unable to get the goal that I think our overall effort, commitment, and general play possibly deserved. Although I would of liked to have seen us more threatening in the final third there was certainly a lot of positives to take from the game. Defensively, we looked very solid and Luke Davey playing out of position at right back was excellent, in the midfield, Alex Megna, Laurie Bell and Jamie Bladen acquitted themselves well in a new formation and Kevin Ferron looked dangerous throughout.
Considering as a team we had only trained for one week in the entire month of March, I was extremely pleased with our showing and I think the boys showed good character and a willingness to play and support one another which was important considering the circumstances.
Our next game is against DePaul University, another Division contest on Friday 13th with a 6pm Kick-Off and we look forward to seeing as many people at the game as possible as the support on Sunday really was appreciated by the players and everyone connected with the program.