Nov. 1, 2011
THIS WEEK IN MILWAUKEE MEN'S SOCCER
Game 17: "LeWang Trophy"
Milwaukee (5-9-2) vs. Northern Illinois (11-4-0)
Wed., Nov. 2, 7 p.m.
Milwaukee leads all-time series, 18-15-4
Milwaukee (5-9-2, 2-3-2 HL) vs. UIC (8-5-3, 2-3-1 HL)
Sat., Nov. 5, 7 p.m.
Milwaukee leads all-time series, 16-13-4
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team closes out the regular season with two important games this week, hosting Northern Illinois Wednesday before heading to play UIC on the weekend. The midweek contest against the Huskies is the annual battle for the "LeWang Trophy", while the Saturday matchup against the Flames will more than likely decide the postseason fate for the Panthers. Both games are set to start at 7 p.m. In addition, Wednesday night will also be "Senior Night" at Engelmann.
Men's Soccer Weekly Release
Both contests will have live statistics available via the Panthers website at uwmpanthers.com. The NIU game will also be available on the Horizon league Network, with Matt Menzl on the call. Saturday's match against UIC will not have a broadcast available.
The series against both schools are relatively even. UWM leads NIU, 18-15-4, but have not been in possession of the LeWang Cup since a 1-0 victory in 2005. The Huskies have retained possession since then by going 4-0-1 over the past five seasons.
Milwaukee also leads UIC, 16-13-4, all-time, but the Flames have had the upper hand of late. In fact, they have posted a 7-0-2 mark against UWM since the 2003 campaign. The series has also been an extremely contested one, with six 1-0 decisions and a 0-0 draw in the past eight meetings, including four-consecutive 1-0 victories by the Flames - two in overtime.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT:
Northern Illinois: The Huskies are 11-4-0 and having a very solid 2011 campaign. Nationally-ranked for the majority of the year, the team is still receiving votes in all of the polls. They were picked to finish second in the Mid-American Conference preseason coaches' poll after going 9-6-2 a season ago.
After going 8-2 in their first 10 games, the Huskies dropped back-to-back matches to #3 Akron and Northwestern. They have rebounded nicely, posting three-consecutive shutouts to close out October. NIU has seen its young players lead the way offensively. In total, 17 of the 22 goals scored by the Huskies this season have come from freshmen and sophomores. James Stevenson leads the way with 12 points (5G/2A). In net, Jordan Godsey has played every minute, recording an .818 save percentage and 0.65 GAA.
UIC: The Flames are 8-5-3 and 2-3-1 in Horizon League play and have a big game waiting for them Wednesday against Loyola. They have been regionally-ranked much of the season after a 5-1-2 start.
The Flames welcomed 11 newcomers to the team this season and returned 13 letterwinners (six starters) from 2010. Among the returners is senior forward Eric Frazier, who scored six goals and totaled 16 points last season, both among the top-10 marks in the Horizon League. Frazier again is a top threat, scoring 19 points (8G/3A) to trail only teammate Ivan Stanisavljevic (24 points/9G/6A) among the league leaders.
The final home game of the regular season on Wednesday will also serve as "Senior Night" for the five seniors on the Panther roster. Congratulations go out to #7 Keegan Ziada, #8 Aaron Gibbons, #11 Robert Refai, #14 Ross Van Osdol and #17 Pedro Mejia.
The Panthers do face the possibility of needing to win their final game to get into the Horizon League Tournament. Valparaiso currently leads the league with 16 points (5-0-1) and will get one of the two byes along with either Wright State, Cleveland State (both 13 points/4-2-1) or Green Bay (12 points/4-3-0). With a win and some help, UWM could remain in fifth. A victory would guarantee them a spot since only the top six teams advance to the postseason. Both Butler and UIC play Wednesday and, each with seven points, could theoretically knock UWM down to seventh heading into the final game at UIC.
The Panthers slump continued, going 0-2 on the week with a pair of 2-0 defeats to Wisconsin Wednesday and Loyola on Saturday night, both at Engelmann Stadium.
Milwaukee has a chance to own all three traveling trophies it plays for when it takes on Northern Illinois Wednesday. The team already owns the "Milwaukee Cup" after a defeat of Marquette and the "Chancellor's Cup" after a double-overtime victory over Green Bay. A victory over NIU would give UWM possession of all three cups for the first time since a season sweep in 2004.
Senior Robert Refai is making the most of his redshirt campaign after missing last season with an injury. Through 16 games, he is the team's leading scorer with 15 points, having scored seven goals while adding an assist. Coming into the season, he had career totals of five goals and 15 points. He currently ranks in the top five in the Horizon League in both points and goals.
SCORING IN BUNCHES
UWM was held without a goal against Loyola, but continues to lead the Horizon League in that category with 25 overall. In addition to leading the league in goals (UIC and Green Bay are tied with 25), the squad also leads in total points with 74 (Valparaiso is second with 70) and assists with 24 (Valparaiso again second with 22).
For perspective, UWM scored 17 goals last season 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 seen 11 different players score goals and 14 different players record points this season. Once again for comparison, in 2009, the year before head coach Chris Whalley arrived, those numbers were eight goal scorers and nine point scorers over the course of the entire season.
A scan of the results so far and a couple of patterns jump off the page. The first number is two, as in two goals. In games that UWM has scored at least two goals, it is 5-1-2 on the season.
The other is 13. The team found the back of the net at least once in the first 13 games of the 2011 campaign, the longest streak without being shutout since 2002, when it went all 22 games without a clean sheet against it in netting 75 goals.
LEARNING ON THE FLY
It may take more than a quick glance at the season statistics to notice, but the Panthers have been playing a very young squad so far in 2011. In fact, freshmen have accounted for 86 starts overall this season. Of note, UWM has started as many as eight freshmen in a game (against Butler Sept. 24).
After missing last season with an injury, freshman Gerardo Saavedra is making a good impression and has 12 points (four goals/four assists) in his first 13 collegiate games. That pace for a newcomer has not been seen at UWM since 2001, when Antou Jallow scored four goals in his first five games - en route to eight in his first 12 before an ACL injury ended that season. In fact, Saavedra is already the highest-scoring frosh in a season at UWM since 2008, when Eric Frazier netted team-high totals of 16 points and six goals.
Most points as a freshman in program history:
Manny Lagos, 1990: 39 (15G/9A)
Tony Sanneh, 1990: 34 (15G/4A)
Pete Knezic, 1977: 21 (7G/7A)
John Santorineos, 1979: 20 (9G/2A)
Lito Zabala, 1976: 17 (7G/3A)
Antou Jallow, 2001: 16 (8G)
Eric Frazier, 2008: 16 (6G/4A)
The performance by freshman Josh Rohde against Michigan State Oct. 4 was impressive, with several of his 14 saves of the highlight-reel variety. His 14 stops go down as the sixth-highest single-game total, and second-highest by a freshman, in program history.
1. John Fetzer, 25, 10/30/76
2. John Fetzer, 24, 11/11/73 (freshman record)
3. John Fetzer, 18, 10/8/76
4. John Fetzer, 16, 10/13/76
5. P.J. Johns, 15, 9/22/79
6. Josh Rohde, 14, 10/4/11
EVERY SECOND COUNTS
Junior Cody Banks scored the winner against Green Bay Sept. 28 with just seven seconds left, 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 last season 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.
The Panthers had their early-season three-game winning streak snapped by a run of tough luck - three consecutive 2-1 losses - including two in overtime. Milwaukee led each of those three contests by a 1-0 score well into the second half - including until the 86th minute in its losses to Gardner-Webb Sept. 16 and UAB Sept. 18 the same weekend.
In scoring four goals against Western Michigan Sept. 4, the Panthers had seven different players record goals or assists. That tied for the most since seven different players hit the stat sheet in UWM's 4-2 win over Marquette in the 2010 season opener. Prior to Chris Whalley's arrival, the last time the team had seven players score points in a game was in a 4-0 win over Wright State in October of 2006.
The Panthers have now recorded 247 shots through the first 16 games of the season and lead the Horizon League in shots per game at 15.4. Valparaiso ranks second at 15.1.
Freshman Nick Langford, senior Keegan Ziada and junior Cody Banks are among the league leaders in the category - Langford is tied for seventh with 36, while Ziada and Banks tied for 10th with 34.
VIDEO COVERAGE EXTENDED
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee will produce and air 24 fall home sporting events live on the Horizon League Network this season. That extended coverage benefits the men's soccer team in the form of nine contests over the course of the 2011 regular season. Nate Lisko and Matt Menzl return as the main announcers for home Milwaukee events on HLN, beginning with the IPFW game Aug. 26. A number of fall Panther events on the road will also be available through the Horizon League Network. Those broadcasts are produced by the home school, with a full listing of those events available at horizonleague.com.
EXHIBITION SEASON REWIND
Milwaukee came through the 2011 exhibition season at a perfect 2-0, winning a pair of games in different fashions. First up was a 3-2 victory in the alumni game, followed by a 1-0 win over Lewis to close out the exhibition slate.
ON A ROLL BETWEEN SEASONS
The Panthers played 11 games in between the time the 2010 campaign came to a close and the start of the new campaign when you add up the total number of matches played in the spring and exhibition play this fall. Their record in those 11 games was an impressive 8-0-3, outscoring their opponents by a total of 24-to-8.
FINDING THE NET
Head coach Chris Whalley has had teams that have scored plenty of goals over the course of his young career. In fact, his Lees-McRae team was eighth in the country in goals per game his final season (2.74 gpg) and led the nation at 3.33 per contest in 2007.
THE GOAL IS NO GOALS
Junior John Shakon earned a spot on the 37th Panther Invitational All-Tournament Team after posting back-to-back shutouts in the two games. The clean sheets were the ninth and 10th of his UWM career and his first consecutive shutouts since beating Loyola (1-0, Oct. 16) and Oakland (2-0 Oct. 20) last season.
CHANGE IS IN THE AIR
The roster continues to undergo changes and this past offseason was no different. Head coach Chris Whalley brought in a strong group of 12 newcomers, with 10 freshmen and a pair of key transfers rounding out the new group.
Players from overseas continue to be added to the roster, with players from England (six) now accounting for the nine players total from overseas wearing a UWM uniform this season.
BETWEEN THE PIPES
Junior goalkeeper John Shakon set a few school marks two years ago when he played every minute in net of the 2009 campaign. He tied the school mark for most games by a freshman goalkeeper (Paul Royal, 18 in 1993) and set the standard for most minutes as a freshman with 1663:05 (was 1625). He ended up leading the Horizon League with 84 saves, including two on penalty kicks over the course of the season.
MORE WITH COACH WHALLEY
Look for a weekly audio podcast of the "Chris Whalley Show", as we sit down weekly with Chris to revisit the week that was and talk about the upcoming schedule. The first episode was made available Aug. 24 and will follow with a new episode every Monday during the course of the 2011 campaign.
The show is available as a link off the main UWM website page or directly at www.uwmpanthers.cstv.com/genrel/podcasts.html.
The Panthers do not have an opportunity to host a first-round game in the Horizon League Tournament, but will play next week Tuesday, Nov. 8, at the highest seed for a first-round matchup. Opponent, game time and location will be determined at a later date.