Nov. 2, 2010
THIS WEEK IN MILWAUKEE MEN'S SOCCER
UWM (6-8-2) vs. Northern Illinois Huskies (8-6-2)
Thur., Nov. 4, 7 p.m.
Milwaukee leads all-time series 18-14-4
Last Meeting: 10/20/09: UWM 1; NIU 5
UWM (6-8-2) vs. #22 Michigan State (11-5-0)
Sat., Nov. 6, 1 p.m.
Milwaukee leads all-time series 6-3-0
Last Meeting: 10/11/92: UWM 2; MSU 3
The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team closes out the regular season with two non-conference games at home, hosting Northern Illinois University and Michigan State University to close out the 2010 campaign. Up first is the battle for the LeWang Cup with the Huskies, scheduled for a 7 p.m. start Thursday. Then, on Saturday, it's Senior Day as the Panthers battle the nationally-ranked Spartans in an afternoon match starting at 1 p.m.
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Milwaukee's match with Northern Illinois will mark the 37th showdown between the regional foes and former Midwestern Collegiate Conference rivals, with UWM currently leading the series, 18-14-4. The winner of the match claims the John LeWang Cup, named after the former NIU coach who was killed in a car accident prior to the 1981 season. The game is the third of three "cup" games that UWM plays for each season (the team plays Green Bay for the "Chancellor's Cup" and Marquette for the "Milwaukee Cup" each year). A year ago, NIU handed UWM a lopsided 5-1 decision to keep the cup for the third-straight season after the Panthers had won six-straight in the series from 2000 to 2005. The game will also be aired live on the Horizon League Network, with Matt Menzl on the call.
Milwaukee leads the all-time series with Michigan State by a count of 6-3-0, but the two teams have not played since the 1992 season - the same year in which most of the freshmen on the current UWM roster were born. The two teams played every season from 1986-92.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENT:
NORTHERN ILLINOIS: The Huskies are 8-6-2 overall and have won their past two matches, beating Western Michigan (2-0, Oct. 27) and Bowling Green (1-0, Oct. 30). Other games of note include a 0-0 draw with then-No. 19 Portland in the season opener and a tough, 1-0, loss at home against No. 1 Akron Oct. 9.
Offensively, Juan Hoyos leads the way with four goals and nine points, with Luis Mojica second with seven (2G/3A). The defense has been strong all season, allowing more than two goals in a game just once in recording a 0.67 goals against average overall. Jordan Godsey has been the main keeper, going 6-3-2 with a 0.69 GAA in 14 games.
Under second-year head coach Eric Luzzi, NIU brought back eight starters and 14 letterwinners from a year ago. That team went 10-8-1, including a tie at then-No. 1 North Carolina.
MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans are 11-5-0 after falling to Indiana and Michigan in their last two games. The team has been ranked in the top 10 nationally this season and is still currently No. 9 in the RPI.
MSU has struck for 35 goals in 16 games, with five players recording 10 or more points. Domenic Barone leads the way with 19, on the strength of a team-best eight goals. Brent Rosendall is right behind, netting seven goals in recording 16 points. Avery Steinlage has played 1,385 of 1,454 minutes in goal, recording a 1.23 goals against average and .791 save percentage. The team also plays Akron midweek.
Two more games again last week, with 50-mile per hour wind gusts disrupting a tough game at Wisconsin to start the week in a 2-0 loss. Then, on the weekend, Milwaukee played a great game in earning a 1-0 decision over Wright State for all-time victory No. 200 at Engelmann Field. Freshman Jordan Record struck for the goal just 74 seconds into the match, and the tally held up despite a 19-to-8 advantage in shots for the Panthers. Sophomore goalkeeper John Shakon posted his fifth shutout of the year and the team earned a spot in the Horizon League Tournament with the result as well.
THAT WAS QUICK
The goal that freshman Jordan Record scored against Wright State Oct. 30 was the quickest to start a match since Travis Phillips scored 55 seconds into a game at Yale in September of 2007 (that goal by Phillips ranks as the sixth-fastest in program history). With three game-winners on the season, Record has the most since 2005, when a trio of teammates all recorded three game-winning scores: Neil Dombrowski, Craig Mallace and Dale Weiler.
The top two seeds in the Horizon League standings earn byes into the semifinals, with the league champion hosting. With Butler at 7-0-0 and with 21 points, it has wrapped up the top spot. Green Bay is second with 15 points (5-2-0) and is in control if its destiny. A win over ninth-place Wright State at home and the Phoenix are the No. 2 seed.
From there, it's still a very muddied picture. Detroit and Cleveland State are both tied with 4-3 marks and 12 points. Then, Milwaukee currently holds down the fifth spot with 12 points (4-4-0). Loyola is still alive with 10 points (3-3-1), as is UIC with nine (3-4-0). UIC and Loyola play each other, and only one of those two teams will be among the six that qualify. So the question remaining is who will end up in spots three through six.
SENIORITY AT IT'S BEST
Four seniors on the Milwaukee roster will be playing in their final regular season games this week. A special pregame presentation will be made before the match against Michigan State to honor Sol Caceres, Abe Gibbons, Greg Rosenthal and Peter Sanger. Congratulations and best of luck seniors!
NO. 200 IN THE BOOKS
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 2010 campaign was 199-78-23, an impressive .702 winning percentage. After opening the season with a "home" game at Concordia University and two heartbreaking double-overtime losses, the Panthers finally secured victory No. 200 when it beat Wright State, 1-0, Oct. 30.
The Panthers have been no stranger to overtime this season, having already played into extra time on eight occasions through 16 games. However, reaching double-overtime for the third-straight contest (which the team did Oct. 3/9/16) is quite rare. In fact, it marked the first time in program history - 37 years and 700-plus games - that it happened. A look through the record book shows the Panthers playing in three consecutive overtime games of any type just three times: once each in 2009 (2OT/2OT/OT), in 1999 (OT/OT/OT) and also in 1992 (OT/OT/OT).
HE SHOOTS ... AND SHOOTS SOME MORE
Although the team has found the back of the net 15 times through 16 games, it hasn't been for a lack of a productive offense that creates plenty of chances. In fact, the UWM roster leads the Horizon League and boasts four of the top 10 in the league in shots taken so far in 2010. JC Banks of Green Bay leads with 78, but sophomore Andrew Wiedabach (second with 51), junior Ross Van Osdol (tied for sixth with 34), sophomore Cody Banks (eighth with 32), and freshman Robbie Boyd (tied for 10th with 30) all show the firepower contained up and down the lineup.
Overall, UWM has outshot its opponents, 265-199, on the season and had more chances in each of the first 11 games. For comparison, such a feat has not been accomplished since doing so in an 11-game stretch in the middle of the 2003 campaign (Sept. 20-Oct. 24).
The Panthers have now played into overtime on eight occasions in their first 16 games and given the fans 133:13 of "free" soccer. With three victories in overtime already this season, UWM has shown that a long streak is now finally over. Since beating Detroit, 1-0, in overtime in early October of last season, the team is 4-3-2 when playing past the regulation horn in its last eight opportunities.
That marks quite a turnaround from the previous stretch dating back to October 31, 2004 - a 1-0 overtime win against Cleveland State. It may be hard to believe, but in the five-plus seasons that followed that game, Milwaukee went 0-10-17 in overtime contests. The program record for most overtime games in a season is eight, set in 1999 and tied in 2005.
UWM'S IRON MAN
The Panthers have played 16 games and nearly 1,575 minutes of soccer in 2010. Just one player has been on the field for every second of it. Senior Greg Rosenthal has played all 1573:13, while junior Ross Van Osdol (1,462) and sophomore Andrew Wiedabach (1,451 minutes) are right behind.
Rosenthal has played every minute of the past 30 games for UWM, not missing any time on the field since a match against Cal State Fullerton in September of 2009.
The Panthers struck for two goals against Valparaiso Sept. 24, an impressive number considering the Crusaders had played six games to that point of the season and surrendered just one goal to date. Valpo came into the game second in the nation in goals against average at 0.16, trailing only Akron (0.00) at the time. When senior Greg Rosenthal put in a header in the sixth minute, it snapped two scoreless streaks in net for the Crusaders. Overall, the strike ended the team's scoreless streak of 406:05. Individually, it also ended Horizon League Goalkeeper of the Year Ryan Schwarz's personal streak at 336:19.
FINALLY HOME, BUT WITH AN *
The Panthers league contest Sept. 26 marked the home opener for the team. The Panthers have now gone 24-10-4 in home openers after a 2-0 loss to Butler. UWM opened last season with a 2-0 loss to No. 9 UC Santa Barbara in the Panther Invitational. In 2008, it was a 0-0 draw with Binghamton after beginning 2007 with a 2-1 loss to Drake. The last victory to start a home slate came in 2006 with a 3-0 defeat of IPFW.
Waiting seven games seems like a long time, however, the wait was just a bit longer before actually getting back on Engelmann Field due to the ongoing resurfacing project. The seven road games to start the 2010 season mark the most matches played before a home opener in UWM program history.
PUTTING THE "NEW" IN ENGELMANN
The field project was finally completed the first week of October and the teams started practicing on it shortly afterwards. The game against Green Bay Oct. 9 marked the first "true" home game for the UWM men this season and the atmosphere at Engelmann Field was electric. The field garnered nothing but positive reviews and 1,117 were in attendance for the Chancellor's Cup clash - the highest attendance figure for a men's game since 1,348 witnessed UWM take on Marquette Oct. 22, 2008.
UWM WITH SOME NEW HOME TURF
The Panthers season opener was supposed to be played at Engelmann Field, but the new turf project delayed Milwaukee's first home match in 2010 until the second weekend in October.
A new synthetic playing surface has been installed at Engelmann, giving the Panthers a FIFA Two-Star Field, with the new Polytan playing surface the first of its kind in North America. Engelmann Field 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.
Milwaukee is now 18-15-5 all-time in season openers, including a 13-11-3 ledger in road openers after the 4-2 victory over Marquette Sept. 1. The Panthers had been a bit jinxed in their season opener the past few years, not having come out on top since the 2003 season in going 0-4-2 over the past six campaigns. A season ago, they dropped a 1-0 decision at Marquette on an 85th-minute strike.
Head coach Chris Whalley has seen his share of success in season openers in the past. His career record in such contests was 4-1-0 coming into the game against MU.
SETTING THE BAR HIGH
Head coach Chris Whalley had quite the smashing debut against Marquette Sept. 1, winning his first game by a score of 4-2. The result was noteworthy on several fronts, starting with reclaiming the Milwaukee Cup for the first time 2006.
UWM had not won a season opener since a 2-0 victory over Northern Illinois to start the 2003 campaign, having gone 0-4-2 in the past six tries. Additionally, the four goals in the game were also of note. The Panthers scored more then one goal in a game just three times in the 2009 season and had not scored four in a contest since a 4-0 defeat of Lipscomb in September of 2006.
In tallying the four scores against Marquette Sept. 1, the Panthers saw seven different players record goals or assists. 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. For comparison, over the course of the 2009 season, UWM had nine players score points all year.
CRESPO MAKES HIS MARK
Freshman Edison Crespo helped seal the Milwaukee Cup win over Marquette Sept. 1 with two late goals, scoring in the 88th and 89th minutes to give UWM an insurmountable 4-1 lead. In doing so, he became the first Milwaukee player to net two goals in one game since Martin Castro did against Lipscomb in September of 2006.
In addition, he became the first UWM freshman to score at least once in an opener since Adam Skalecki (2005) and the first frosh to find the back of the net twice in a season opener since Dan Day set the mark with three goals as a freshman in a 7-0 win over Central Michigan back in 1984. The most impressive statistic about the feat Crespo accomplished is that he did it all in just 13 minutes of playing time on the field.
OFFENSE 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 a year ago (2.74 gpg) and led the nation at 3.33 per contest in 2007.
He has quickly brought his offensive scheme to UWM, as the Panthers scored 10 goals in six spring games and then netted eight - four each outing - in their two exhibition contests in 2010 before adding four more in their season opener against Marquette.
CHANGE IS IN THE AIR
The team underwent several changes since last season - most notably with new head coach Chris Whalley. However, one look at the roster will see that changes are obvious there as well. Of the 30 players on the 2010 roster, over half - 16 in all - did not suit up for the Panthers a year ago. Included in the list is one redshirt, one transfer and 14 freshmen.
EXHIBITION SEASON RECAP
Milwaukee came through the 2010 exhibition season at a perfect 2-0, winning a pair of games by scores of 4-1. First up was a victory in the alumni game, followed by a win over Whitewater to close out the exhibition slate.
UWM FRESHMAN GETTING INK
The "College Soccer News" website recently listed its "100 Freshmen From Coast to Coast to Keep an Eye in 2010".
Just three players from the Horizon League made the list, with UWM freshman Riley Weiner being one of them. Weiner, the Wisconsin Player of the Year, was an NSCAA High School All-American and a WSCA First Team All-State selection.
"SHAKON" IT UP IN NET
Sophomore goalkeeper John Shakon set a few school marks last year 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 available Aug. 30 and will follow with a new episode every Monday during the course of the 2010 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 postseason is next, with Milwaukee finding out its opponent and destination after the other eight teams conclude league play this weekend. The tournament starts Tuesday, Nov. 9.