Sept. 23, 2008
THIS WEEK IN MILWAUKEE MEN'S SOCCER
UWM (3-2-2) vs. Valparaiso Crusaders (4-3-1)
Fri., Sept. 26, 3:30 p.m.
Milwaukee leads all-time series 1-0-1
Last Meeting: 9/29/07: UWM 1; Valpo 1 (2OT)
UWM (3-2-2) vs. Butler Bulldogs (5-1-1)
Sun., Sept. 28, 3 p.m.
Milwaukee leads all-time series 14-8-1
Last Meeting: 10/5/07: UWM 3; Butler 0
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team will get Horizon League play underway this weekend with games against Valparaiso University and Butler University. The Panthers will travel to Indiana to take on the Crusaders in the opener Friday, starting at 3:30 p.m. Then, they will be back to the friendly confines of Engelmann Field Sunday, hosting the Bulldogs in an afternoon affair scheduled for a 3 p.m. start.
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The match with the Crusaders will be just the third regular season confrontation between the two schools, with UWM owning a 1-0-1 mark after the two teams tied, 1-1, to open the league slate a year ago. The only other game in the series occurred back in the 1993 season, when UWM recorded a 7-0 blanking.
Milwaukee owns a 15-8-1 record all-time against the Bulldogs, with just one blemish coming in the past 10 times these two teams have squared off. Outside of a 2-1 upset loss to BU in the Horizon League tournament in 2006, UWM has outscored Sunday's opponent 16-3 in those other nine games (going 8-0-1) dating back to 2001.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT:
VALPARAISO: The Crusaders will enter play Friday with a 4-3-1 record, going 1-0-1 last weekend. They are coming off a 3-0 win over Western Michigan Sunday and a 1-1 tie against Missouri State Friday. The team has also started the 2008 slate 2-1-0 at home. Back for his second season on the Crusader sidelines is head coach Mike Avery. In his first year, Avery guided Valpo in its step up to the Horizon League and led the Crusaders to one of the best defensive seasons in school history, allowing 28 goals over their 18 matches.
This season, the team's 11 goals have been scored by seven players, with four different players netting two each. Oscar Lomeli leads the team with five points and is second with 15 shots. In goal, Kyle Zobecki has played all 740 minutes, registering a 1.22 GAA and a .815 save percentage.
BUTLER: The Bulldogs are a solid 5-1-1 on the 2008 season, scoring 14 goals while allowing just five as a team. They are coming off a two-victory weekend and team title at Dayton's tournament, topping Marshall, 3-2 Sunday, and Robert Morris, 3-0 on Friday.
Head coach Kelly Findley returns all 11 starters from last year's squad, which posted a 9-7-4 record and tied for fourth place in the Horizon League. The Bulldogs also have 21 of last year's 22 letterwinners back in 2008.
Frank Potano leads the team, and league, with 15 points and seven goals, while Ben Sippola tops the squad with three assists. Nick Hegeman (4 games/0.47 GAA) and Fabian Knopfler (3 games/1.00 GAA) have been splitting time in goal for BU.
HORIZON LEAGUE WONDERS
UWM has won the Horizon League regular season title in four of the past seven seasons, posting a win-loss record of 39-7-1 in that span. The Panthers became the first-ever Horizon League school to win four-straight soccer titles (2002-05), breaking Evansville's old standard of three consecutive (1989-91).
ONE GAME = ONE WIN
The Panthers had just one game on the schedule last week, but made the most of it by posting a 2-1 win over Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Saturday night at Engelmann Field.
Sophomore Robert Refai scored the eventual game-winner and freshman Eric Frazier played a key role by assisting Refai's goal and netting the first score of the game. The defense was solid yet again - as only a PK by SIUE late in the second half prevented what would have been the team's third-straight shutout. Senior Grant Fernstrum did make the other four saves he needed to earn the victory and keep UWM unbeaten at home - now 2-0-1 - this season.
ABOUT THOSE TWO LOSSES
A closer look at Milwaukee's 3-2-2 record this season shows just how far this young team has already come this season. In addition to being four games better than last year's squad after seven games record-wise, the Panthers two losses have come against some stiff competition. Drake is now 7-1-0 and did not give up a goal in its first six matches of season. The Bulldogs only loss came at the hands of No. 3 California in a match in which their starting goalkeeper was sitting out due to a red card he had received the game before. Meanwhile, Santa Clara was ranked in the top five of every preseason poll - including as high as No. 1 in Top Drawer Soccer's preseason poll.
BOX SCORE SCRUTINY
Despite outshooting the Cougars, 14-12, in Saturday's win, one box score statistic that might have been overlooked was UWM not forcing a single corner kick, as SIUE had six to none for the Panthers. The last time that Milwaukee was held without a corner kick was 34 games ago in a match against UIC Oct. 3, 2006.
200 SOUNDS GOOD
The Panthers love to play at Engelmann Field and their record over the years proves just that. Their all-time ledger at the field entering the 2008 campaign was 195-69-20, an impressive .722 winning percentage. With nine games on the home slate this fall, looks like UWM will be celebrating victory No. 200 on its storied home field at some point this season.
No. 196: Cal State Northridge, 1-0, Sept. 14
No. 197: SIUE, 2-1, Sept. 20
The winning goal that Eric Frazier netted Sept. 5 against Dayton is one of the latest goals to be scored, time-wise, to claim a victory for UWM in regulation and avoid overtime in quite a while. It marked the latest a winning Milwaukee goal was scored since Neil Dombrowski netted the game-winner with just 33 seconds remaining in the match against Akron on Oct. 5, 2003.
Freshmen Evan Bartzis and Eric Frazier have both made nice impressions to the beginning of their UWM careers, with the duo now first and second on the charts for points and shots taken. If you take that a bit further, freshmen have actually accounted for a large majority of points the Panthers have recorded this season. In addition to the four goals scored by Bartzis and Frazier, freshman Nick Dundon has an assist and Frazier has three helpers to account for 12 of the 18 UWM points on the season.
Speaking of freshman Eric Frazier, one look at the scoring chart shows the production he has helped bring to the offense already this season. He leads the team with seven points in seven games, a point total that currently ranks fourth in the Horizon League. The seven points is more than any player recorded last season besides the top spot (Zeke Dombrowski had 11) and his three assists are also as many as the 2007 team leader finished with.
Milwaukee's opening-round game in the Panther Invitational Sept. 12 marked the 36th in program history. With the 0-0 draw against Binghamton, the team is now 24-8-4 in such games at Engelmann Field.
DEFENSE!! ... DEFENSE!!
The 0-0 draw against Binghamton Sept. 12 had as much to do with the weather and field conditions as anything else, but also marked the first scoreless game for UWM since playing UIC Oct. 12 of the 2005 season. It was also just the third scoreless game since the 1999 season.
OVERTIME JINX CONTINUES
In playing Binghamton to a 0-0 draw Sept. 12, UWM saw a streak get extended once again that they would like to put to rest: the team is now 0-7-13 in its past 20 overtime matches. It was 0-2-3 in 2007, 0-2-2 in 2006, 0-3-5 in 2005 and lost in extra time in the final match of the 2004 season (2-1 at UCSB in the NCAA Tournament). The Panthers last OT victory came Oct. 31, 2004, a 1-0 win over Cleveland State.
SENIORS READY TO BOOKEND CAREERS
Three seniors on the 2008 squad will look to go out on a high note, and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament is what they have in mind. After going to the second round of the tournament in their freshman season, Travis Phillips, Grant Fernstrum and Adam Skalecki look to improve on their NCAA ledger with a return trip this fall. The fourth senior on the squad, Ryan Germann, was a transfer to Milwaukee after his freshman season at American University.
SHINING IN LEAGUE PLAY
After a slow start to the 2007 season, the Panthers righted the ship in time for the start of Horizon League play. In their eight conference games, the team gave up just five goals (posting four clean sheets) for a team goals against average of 0.61.
They held edges in every statistical category: goals (9-5), assists (8-5), shots (95-85), shots on goal (41-31) and corner kicks (48-38). Five different players accounted for the five game-winning goals en route to a second-place showing in the standings.
SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR
If it feels like the Panthers have been in every match but haven't been able to catch a few necessary breaks the past few seasons, it could be considered a factual statement. After a 2-1 defeat at the hands of No. 14 Santa Clara Sept. 7, the trend sounds familiar: 18 of the last 23 UWM losses dating back the past two-plus years have been by one goal.
Further analysis of the schedule a year ago shows just what kind of competition head coach Jon Coleman had on the schedule. Overall, the combined W-L-T record of all opponents for the season was 169-149-79, a .525 win percentage. For comparison, UIC, which won the league tournament and made a deep run into the NCAA postseason, ended the year with an opponent W-L-T record of just 216-210-83, a .505 win percentage.
Seven of UWM's 2007 opponents were ranked at one point during the season and the W-L-T record of the teams that handed the Panthers their 12 losses was 122-72-48 (.604).
In 2006, the Panthers overall record consisted of nine losses, with eight of them one-goal setbacks. Three of them came at the hands of Top 25 teams: 1-0 to No. 2 SMU Aug. 27, 2-1 to No. 6 Washington in overtime Sept. 10 and 1-0 to No. 12 UIC Oct. 3.
ONE-ZERO SOUND FAMILIAR?
UWM closed out the 2007 season by playing its ninth 1-0 game of the year against UIC in the league tournament. After starting 0-5 in such decisions, the Panthers did record victories in three of the final four, going 3-6 in those nine 1-0 affairs.
Despite a 2-3-2 mark at Engelmann in 2007, the Panthers still rank right up there with the best in the country when it comes to home-field advantage. In 2006, that was no different, as the Panthers posted back-to-back shutouts to open the home slate and finished 7-2-1. Since the start of the 2001 season, UWM has turned Engelmann Field into a place visiting teams do not want to see on their schedule. They have gone 52-8-3 on their home pitch in that time, including a 13-2 mark in postseason play and a perfect 2-0 mark in NCAA Tournament action.
QUITE AN EXHIBITION
The Panthers got the 2008 season off on the right foot, marching through a two-game exhibition slate where they went back-to-back games without allowing a goal. The first came Aug. 18 with an impressive 1-0 victory over Bradley, a team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament after winning regular season and tournament titles in the Missouri Valley Conference a year ago and entered ranked No. 21 by the NSCAA's preseason poll. The Panthers then toppled UW-Whitewater, 3-0, Aug. 20 with an impressive overall performance, using all 20 players that were dressed and healthy for the game.
The four goals were scored by four different players, including two by newcomers. Sophomore Robert Refai led the way with eight shots in the two games, with junior Nicholas Gerard-Larson, sophomore Peter Sanger and freshman Nick Dundon recording four each. Dundon and senior Travis Phillips topped the team with three points (1G/1A). In goal, seniors Grant Fernstrum and Ryan Germann split the time in half in each contest, with the defense playing so well in front of them that they were only called upon to make five total saves combined.
PANTHERS IN THE PROS
After wrapping up his college career in 2007, Steve Bode was drafted by the Chicago Fire of MLS and by the Milwaukee Wave.
In addition to Bode continuing his career in the world of professional soccer, former UWM player Tenzin Rampa was also drafted following his senior campaign by the Milwaukee Wave in the fifth round of the 2008 Major Indoor Soccer League College Draft.
HITTING THE BOOKS
UWM had three players honored for their work in the classroom by the league office last year. Steve Bode, Zeke Dombrowski and Ken Ogorzalek were all named to the Horizon Academic All-League Team in December. Dombrowski was also selected as the league Scholar Athlete of the Week in October.
After graduation, Ogorzalek went on to receive a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation to pursue his graduate degree at the University of California-Berkeley in structural engineering. Nearly 40,000 students apply to the NSF fellowship program each year, less than 1,000 go on to earn the awards.
The Panther men were also once again named a recipient of the NCSAA/adidas Team Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.
UWM IN THE POLLS
The Panthers were picked by league coaches to place fifth in the Horizon League regular season, according to the results of the preseason poll announced Aug. 18 by the league office. Milwaukee has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in five of the past seven seasons, reaching the second round in the last four it appeared (2002-05). It has compiled a league record of 39-7-4 in that time.
UIC, which advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season and is ranked as high as No. 16 in the national preseason polls, took the top spot for the second-straight year with 64 points and eight first place votes. Green Bay landed in second, compiling 52 points to edge out Loyola, which had 51. Butler (43) came in just ahead of UWM (39), with Valparaiso (26), Wright State (20), Detroit (16) and Cleveland State (13) rounding out the poll.
1. UIC (8 first place votes) - 64 pts.
2. Green Bay (1) - 52
3. Loyola - 51
4. Butler - 43
5. Milwaukee - 39
6. Valparaiso - 26
7. Wright State - 20
8. Detroit - 16
9. Cleveland State - 13
The team faces its first league weekend away from home, traveling to Michigan and Ohio for Horizon League matches against Detroit Friday and Cleveland State Sunday.