Panthers Will Head To Madison For NCAA Contest Against Badgers
Nov. 18, 2013
MILWAUKEE - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team will play the University of Wisconsin Thursday in Madison, Wis., in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The team found out its first round match-up this morning when the selections were announced on NCAA.com and will be facing a familiar opponent. The Panthers (15-2-2) and Badgers (13-4-2) played to a 1-1 draw back on October 23.
"It's interesting, we kind of figured we'd get matched up with somebody in our local region," UWM head coach Kris Kelderman said. "It's an exciting opportunity. We are playing against a team that we feel very good about, confident that we can compete with these guys and get a result. At the same time, they are a very good team. That showed in our last game and they are a team that we highly respect and we need to be prepared and be able to come with our best game and get a result."
Milwaukee is making its first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2005 and ninth in the history of the program (1979, 1980, 1990, 2001-05). The Panthers claimed an automatic bid courtesy of their 2-0 victory over No. 23 UIC in the Horizon League Tournament Championship Sunday.
"It's exciting that we get to play a national tournament game in our home state," Kelderman said. "We can get some fans there and I am sure it will be a very exciting environment."
Milwaukee enters on a hot streak, unbeaten in its past six games (5-0-1) and winners of five in a row - including the past four by shutout in which they have outscored the opponent by a combined total of 12-1. The offense has been fun to watch all season and currently ranks 10th in the NCAA in scoring average at 2.05 goals per game as well as 12th in total goals and assists and 13th in total points. Junior Laurie Bell, the Horizon League Player of the Year, has played a key role in that. His 13 goals rank seventh in the country and his 30 points is 10th.
The defense has also played a key role for the squad, as it boasts a team goals against average of just 0.61 (seventh in the country) which includes 10 shutouts on the season and a scoreless streak of 405:04 that freshman goalkeeper Liam Anderson will carry into play this week.
Wisconsin received an at-large bid for the first time since 1995, eclipsing 13 wins for the first time in 18 years. The all-time series is about as even as it gets, with UWM holding a slim 16-15-7 edge after the draw earlier this season. The contest Thursday will mark the first-ever postseason contest between the two squads. The Badgers swept the Big Ten specialty awards with Tomislav Zadro earning Offensive Player of the Year and AJ Cochran the Defensive Player of the Year honors.
The team also carries a 13-game unbeaten streak at home - the longest in the nation. However, it was the Panthers that last defeated UW in Madison, a 1-0 decision October 10 of last season.
The winner of the match will advance to play Notre Dame, which is the No. 3 seed in the tournament and 12-1-6 on the season. That game will be played on Nov. 24 at Notre Dame.
"They are one of the best teams in the country and would that be an exciting opportunity to play against them," Kelderman said. "First things first, we have to make sure that we are prepared to the best of our abilities against Wisconsin."
Game time is 7 p.m. Thursday at Shea McClimon Soccer Complex. Ticket prices are $8 for adult, $4 youth/student/senior with no re-entry allowed. Children under the age of 2 do not require a ticket.
Gates will open up 1 hour prior to the start of the game. Tickets Sales and the entrance for spectators is located on the North End of the complex, near Lot 60. The Dan McClimon Memorial Track/Soccer Complex is located at 702 Walnut Street, Madison, WI 53706.
Advanced tickets on-sale Tuesday, November 19 at 8:30 a.m. until Thursday, November 21 at 4:30 p.m. Tickets available online at UWBadgers.com, over the phone by calling 1.800.GO.BADGERS or 608.262.1440, or in person at the Wisconsin Athletic Ticket Office, between the business hours of 8:30am and 4:30pm.