Big Weekend Lies Ahead For UWM Men's Soccer Team
Sept. 11, 2012
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team remains on the road again this week, traveling to Evanston, Ill., for a weekend of games at the Northwestern Lakeside Classic. Milwaukee joins the host Wildcats, Northern Illinois and Iona in the four-team event, playing NIU Friday and then taking on nationally-ranked Northwestern to close out the weekend Sunday.
Friday's match has a bit more riding on it, as the annual matchup with the Huskies is always for the LeWang Cup, which UWM regained with a 1-0 victory in the series in 2011. The contest will be the first neutral field for the series since 2003 and just the second one all-time. It will mark the 39th showdown between the regional foes and former Midwestern Collegiate Conference rivals. The winner of the match claims the John LeWang Cup, which is named after the former NIU coach who was killed in a car accident prior to the 1981 season.
Live statistics of both weekend matches will be available via GameTracker on the UWM website. A live blog and in-game updates on Twitter will also be provided by Assistant SID Chris Zills.
Sunday's matchup will be the second in three games against a nationally-ranked foe, as NU is in all the polls and as high as No. 18 by College Soccer News. The Panthers have a dominating record of 15-2-1 all-time against Northwestern, but the two teams have not played since 2002.
In addition, the Panthers are receiving votes in the NSCAA Great Lakes Regional poll (for the second week in a row) for the first time since September of last season.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT:
They return eight starters from last season's MAC Tournament Championship team, including senior goalkeeper Jordan Godsey and leading scorer, junior forward James Stevenson. Godsey started all 21 matches for the Huskies in goal last season and recorded 12 shutouts with a 0.70 goals against average. Stevenson scored a team-high 15 points with a team-best six goals.
NIU finished last season with a 15-6-0 record and reached as high as No. 13 in the adidas/NSCAA national ranking and No. 16 in the RPI. The Huskies finished the season ranked No. 24 in the RPI.
Northwestern: The Wildcats are 3-0-2 in 2012 after going 11-5-5 and winning the Big Ten regular season and tournament titles in 2011. They have been picked to repeat as league champs in the 2012 preseason poll as well.
Under the direction of 2011 Big Ten Coach of the Year Tim Lenahan, NU returns a strong core from last year's championship squad that posted an unbeaten 4-0-2 record in conference action. Nine starters, including All-Big Ten honorees sophomore goalkeeper Tyler Miller, senior midfielder Chris Ritter, junior midfielder Lepe Seetane and sophomore defender Nikko Boxall are back in 2012.
XAVIER PULLS AWAY
HISTORY IS ON UWM'S SIDE
The Panthers had not played the part of gracious tournament host in the past 37 versions, owning a 52-20-2 all-time record in the event while earning the tourney title in 22 of 37 tries. After claiming the team title again in 2012, UWM has now been the champion in this event in eight of the last 14 years it has been held.
RING THE BELL
Bell scored in three games in a row and was looking to be the first UWM player to find the back of the net in four straight since Antou Jallow last accomplished the feat in November of 2004. A year ago, Robert Refai also had a similar stretch of three games. The goal-scoring streak was snapped at Xavier Sept 9, but he did have an assist to record at least one point in four games in a row. The last UWM player to record a goal or assist in five straight games was Zeke Dombrowski in 2007.
Milwaukee has three of the top five in the league in the category, with sophomore Laurie Bell leading the conference with 19 shots. In addition, sophomore Zach Stevenson is third (16) and freshman Aaron Horvat is tied for fifth (13). Lastly, Milwaukee is first in the league in points (28), goals (10) and assists (8).
SCORING IN BUNCHES
For perspective, UWM scored 27 goals in 18 games in 2011 for an average of 1.5. It had 17 goals in 2011 and had just 12 over the course of the 2009 campaign. At this rate, Milwaukee will score its highest amount of goals in quite some time. The Panthers netted 17 goals in 2008, 16 in 2007 and 26 in 2006. The last time a Milwaukee squad averaged two goals per game or better was in 2004, when it tallied 44 goals in 22 games.
The Panthers have now already seven different players score goals and 10 different players record points this season. Once again for comparison, as recently as 2009, those numbers were eight goal scorers and nine point scorers over the course of the entire season.
THEY LIKE THE "S" IN GOALS
Head coach Kris Kelderman had one season opener under his belt at the collegiate level prior to last week. A year ago, his Green Bay squad topped SIU Edwardsville, 1-0.
If you are a fan of late goals, it can't come any later. Cody Banks scored the memorable game-winner against Green Bay last season with just seven seconds left in double-overtime, making it one of the latest goals to end a match (109:53) in recent memory. Since 2000, only a handful has even come close. UWM and Green Bay are familiar with the late heroics, with their game in 2010 decided in the 109th minute in the win by the Phoenix. Looking back, Milwaukee lost a 2-1 game to Michigan in October of 2005 in the 109th minute.
The other contenders? Vermont edged UWM, 2-1, with just 21 seconds left in double-OT in 2010 and Bowling Green defeated Milwaukee, 2-1, back in the 2001 season with just 15 seconds left in double-overtime as well.
In doing so, Rodriguez became the fourth freshman since 2000 to score in the season opener, joining Antou Jallow (2001), Adam Skalecki (2005) and Edison Crespo (2010) on that list. He also became just the second-ever freshman to score in the first two games of the season.
THE BATTLE FOR THE MILWAUKEE CUP
Despite the heartbreaking loss Aug. 24, the Panthers certainly have the upper hand all-time, posting a 27-10-3 record in the series. They had posted back-to-back wins the past two seasons, reclaiming the Cup in 2010 with a 4-2 victory and keeping possession in 2011 with a 2-1 final score.
THEY HAVE ALL OF `EM
EXHIBITION SEASON REWIND
VIDEO COVERAGE EXTENDED
Matt Menzl and Nate Lisko return as the two main voices of Panther athletics in the fall. Menzl will call the majority of soccer matches while Lisko will be the voice of Panther volleyball. In addition to the volume of home events, many of UWM's league road events are also available through the Horizon League Network via broadcasts from the host institution. Live streaming of home events is just one part of UWM's extensive online video presence. The Black and Gold Network - the You Tube channel for Panther athletics - will again provide a variety of features, previews, postgame interviews and highlights. Last school year, the Black and Gold Network produced over 300 video features with more than 50,000 page views. Those broadcasts are produced by the home school, with a full listing of those events available at horizonleague.com.
PANTHERS FOUND THE OFFENSE
COLLEGE SPORTS MADNESS TABS BOYD
WELCOME TO MILWAUKEE
In addition to the players that have never put on a UWM uniform before, one addition will be welcomed back. Junior Andrew Wiedabach will return after a season away. Wiedabach has a resume that includes Horizon League All-Newcomer status as a freshman and then first-team all-league honors in 2010 when he led the team in points (13), goals (4), assists (5) and shots (58).
MORE WITH COACH KELDERMAN
The show is available as a link off the main UWM website page or directly at www.uwmpanthers.cstv.com/genrel/podcasts.html.
UWM'S NEW HOME TURF
Engelmann Stadium has been the home of Panther soccer since the 1970's, and soccer supporters have been stepping forward to help with improvements to what is considered one of the best college soccer environments in the country.