This Week In Panther Soccer
Game #7: #24 Milwaukee @ New Mexico (2-1-1)
Friday, Sept. 12 6:30 p.m. Albuquerque, N.M.
Gameday Media: Gametracker
Game #8: #24 Milwaukee v. UNLV (4-1-1)
Sunday, Sept. 14 11 a.m. Albuquerque, N.M.
Gameday Media: Gametracker
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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (Sept. 9, 2008) - The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's soccer team leaves the city of Milwaukee for the first time this season, traveling to the UNM Nike Classic Friday and Sunday in Albuquerque, N.M. The Panthers will put their school-record 6-0 start and No. 24 national ranking on the line when they play host New Mexico Friday and UNLV Sunday.
The "Silver" Anniversary
The Panthers are playing their 25th season as a varsity sport. The team will be celebrating the occasion all season long, recognizing outstanding achievements and moments in UWM women's soccer history. The squad will also be wearing special patches commemorating the season.
Milwaukee continues to get noticed by national pollsters for their hot start to the season. For the third-straight week, the Panthers are appearing on the national poll radars, cracking the NSCAA top 25 for the first time after receiving votes the last two weeks. The NSCAA has UWM 24th, while Soccer America puts the team 23rd, a one-spot jump from last week. Milwaukee also moved up one spot in the Soccer Buzz poll to 24th, the same spot the team debuted in on the Soccer Times poll this week.
A Look At The Opposition - New Mexico
New Mexico is coming off a pair of shutout wins to push its record to 2-1-1 entering this week, with a game against Hawaii scheduled for Tuesday. Hannah Hand has paced the offense with four points on a goal and two assists. Six different players have accounted for the team's six goals. In goal, Shannon Adragna has played every minute and has a 0.95 goals against average and two shutouts. The Lobos also usually play in front of a large crowd, averaging 1,222 fans through three home games this season.
A Look At The Opposition - UNLV
The Rebels are the defending Mountain West regular season champions and are off to a 4-1-1 start this season. UNLV is limiting opponents to just 0.67 goals per game while averaging nearly two per game themselves. Ashleigh Shoughro leads the team with three goals, while Brianna Moore has added two. In goal, Alicia Lugo has logged over 530 minutes and has a 0.51 GAA and two shutouts.
The Panthers have faced their upcoming opponents this week a combined one time, falling to New Mexico at a tournament in Arizona in 1994. Both teams are in the Mountain West Conference, a league UWM is 0-3 against, having dropped a pair of matches to BYU around the turn of the (21st) century.
With three wins last week, head coach Michael Moynihan became the winningest soccer coach in UWM history. He surpassed Louis Bennett with his 137th career win Friday and picked up No. 138 on Sunday. Bennett coached the men's team from 1996-05. He and Moynihan are two of the four coaches to eclipse 100 career soccer coaching wins in school history.
Last Week In Review
Wednesday - Milwaukee 1, Marquette 0
Freshman Sarah Hagen scored the game's lone goal to lead the Panthers to a 1-0 win over crosstown rival Marquette on Wednesday at Valley Fields.
Friday - Milwaukee 4, Western Michigan 1
Junior Kate Megna and sophomore Nicole Sperl each tallied a goal and an assist to Milwaukee to a 4-1 win over Western Michigan on Friday. Hagen and senior Beth Steuer also scored for the Panthers.
Sunday - Milwaukee 1, Illinois State 0
Hagen's third goal of the week, just 3:46 into Sunday's match with Illinois State, held us as UWM topped the Redbirds 1-0. Megna and junior Kayla DeJardin assisted on the score.
If something just didn't seem quite right to you about Sunday's match against Illinois State, you might be on to something. For the first time since Nov. 2, 2003, the Panthers did not take a corner kick. They had gotten at least one corner kick in 93-straight games prior to Sunday. In that time, they held opponents without one 15 times.
Wasting No Time
Through just six games, Sarah Hagen has already tallied eight goals and 17 points. She has already equaled the most goals in a season by a Panther since 2000. In fact, her 17 points would have led any UWM squad since between 2003-07.
Those Goals Add Up
It's no surprise that Hagen leads the team and even the league in goals and points. But, she also leads the nation with eight goals. The NCAA released its first round of statistics and, using a minimum of four games played, she is sixth in goals per game and seventh in points per game.
There Are Worse Habits...
Hagen has played six college games and scored in all six of them. Ignoring the fact that she is doing all of this as just a freshman, she has established a school record for consecutive games with a goal. Last Friday she surpassed Betsy Ribares' school record of four-straight with her fifth. She is also two back of Ribares' school record for consecutive games with at least one point (eight).
Playing With The Lead
In 540 minutes of soccer this season, the Panthers have yet to face a deficit. In fact, they have held the lead for 319:43. Meanwhile, they have been tied at a score other than 0-0 for just 21:54.
How Many W's In `Milwaukee'?
The Panthers are off to their best start in school history, trumping the 1997 team's 5-0-1 start. The league record for wins to start a season is nine, as the 1993 and 1994 Notre Dame teams each started 9-0. The hot start has also extended the team's nine-game unbeaten streak (8-0-1) it carried over from last season.
Doing It The Hard Way
The path to 6-0 has not been an easy one for Milwaukee. The Panthers have faced two Big Ten teams, one Big East team, two NCAA Tournament teams from 2007 and a regular season conference champion. UWM also remains the only loss on the schedule for Wisconsin (4-1) and Marquette (4-1). Things don't get much easier, as UNLV (Sunday) and Boston University (Sept. 19) were conference champs last season, with the Terriers advancing to the NCAA Tournament.
Currently, UWM is one of just three 6-0 teams in the nation, joined by Minnesota and the College of Charleston. All told, there are 26 undefeated teams remaining in NCAA Division I entering the week.
Helping Hands... Er... Feet
Juniors Erin Kreuser and Kate Megna share the team lead with four assists, giving the duo 12 career assists apiece. That number ties them for ninth in school history. The timing of their assists have been key, as Kreuser has tied a school record with her seventh career game-winning assist against Samford. Megna has assisted on a game-winner six times and is tied for seventh in school history.
Home, Sweet Home
The Panthers won a pair of home games last week and leave the friendly confines this weekend with a 16-match home unbeaten streak (13-0-3) in tact They also extended a streak of 30-straight regular season home games without a loss (25-0-5). In fact, if you include post-season contests, the team is still an impressive 28-1-6 at home over its last 35 home matches.
We Are The Champions
Earlier this season, the Panthers claimed their second-straight Milwauee Cup title. They defeated Ohio State 4-3 on Aug. 27 and Samford 4-2 on Aug. 29 to claim the title. For the third-straight year, co-hosts UWM and Marquette each went 2-0, but this is the second in a row the Panthers claimed the title on the goals scored tiebreaker.
M-V-P ... M-V-P ... M-V-P
Freshman Sarah Hagen finished the Milwaukee Cup with three goals and an assist and was named Tournament MVP. She was joined on the all-tournament team by junior Erin Kreuser, who tallied three assists, as well as senior Sarah Teegarden, junior Kate Megna and freshman Keara Thompson.
But This Is Just Plain FAST
The Panthers had a pair of notable feats of speed during the Milwaukee Cup. First, after Ohio State knotted the game at 3-3 on Aug. 27, Nicole Sperl converted the go-ahead goal just 18 seconds later on a penalty kick. It was the third-fastest response goal in school history. Then, two days later, Sarah Hagen scored the game's first goal just 59 seconds after the opening whistle. It was UWM's first goal inside the first minute of play since Megan Mann got the scoring started at the 49-second mark Sept. 9, 2001, at Valparaiso.
UWM pushed its unbeaten streak against state schools to eight games (7-0-1) with wins over Wisconsin and Marquette already this season. The Panthers have not lost to one of the three other Division I schools in the state since 2005. They went 3-0 in 2006 and 2-0-1 last season. They own three-straight wins over the Badgers and four-straight over Green Bay. And, finally, Milwaukee has defeated Marquette in 2006 and 2008, with the two teams tying in 2007.
Player Of The Week
After scoring two goals in UWM's win over Wisconsin in the season-opener, Sarah Hagen was named the season's inaugural Horizon League Player of the Week. She is the first Panther freshman to earn the honor after her week of collegiate action since Erin Kane in 2005.
Prognosticators Pick Panthers
For the ninth consecutive year, Milwaukee has been picked to win the Horizon League in the annual preseason coaches' poll. The Panthers garnered seven first place votes and tallied 63 points. Loyola, which finished second to UWM last season, was picked second with two first-place nods and 58 total points. Milwaukee has won the last eight league regular season crowns.
The Panthers enter the 2008 season having won the last eight Horizon League regular season titles. The streak is the second-longest in the nation, behind only Penn State's streak of 10 Big Ten titles.
Back In Black (And Gold)
Milwaukee returns 17 letterwinners from last season, including seven starters. The list of returners includes all-league first team members Erin Kane, Sarah Teegarden and Kate Megna. The Panthers also return four of their top five scorers in sophomore Nicole Sperl (team-high 14 points), junior Erin Kreuser (2nd with 13), Megna and Teegarden.
Welcome To Milwaukee
Despite having seven returning starters and 17 letterwinners, the Panthers will have eight newcomers vying for playing time this season. Heading that list are Gatorade Wisconsin State Player of the Year Laurel Ragalie, Appleton Post-Crecent Female Co-Players of the Year Sarah Hagen and Chelsea Colling and a four-time all-state honoree in Makenzie Gillaspie. Keara Thompson, Mary Wandolowski, Sammy Vovos and Lindsay Boeckman round out a talented freshman class.
While the 2007 season did not end in the NCAA Tournament like Milwaukee hoped it would, it still was another successful season for the Panthers. They went 13-4-4, won an eighth-straight Horizon League regular season championship and advanced to the league title game for a league-record ninth time.
A Few Extra Notes
The Panthers are unbeaten in their last six games against the Big Ten Conference (4-0-2).
Sarah Hagen was the third Panther freshman to score two goals in her collegiate debut, following Louise Vraney in 2006 and Katie Waltenberger in 1997. This season also marked the third-straight season-opener in which a freshman scored, including Sarah Talbert's first career goal last season.
Vraney has scored on the opening day of each of her three seasons, including Aug. 22 against Wisconsin. No other player in team history has scored on opening day more than once.
UWM defeated Toledo, 3-0, in their only intercollegiate exhibition match. Freshman Laurel Ragalie scored two goals in the match.
Sarah Hagen assisted on all three goals against Toledo, including twice while playing as the team's emergency goalkeeper in the second half.
Megna's Memoirs Part Deux
Junior Kate Megna is once again providing her take on the Panthers' season as it goes on, via an online blog at uwmpanthers.com. At the start of every week, Megna looks back on the weekend of action and shares the inside story of the Milwaukee women's soccer team. Visit uwmpanthers.com for the latest installment, which is posted on Monday afternoons. Fans can also follow along with all of UWM's sports at the Panther Blogzone. The Blogzone is the perfect place to get a little extra information on your favorite Panther teams.
The Panthers remain on the road tournament circuit, heading to Minneapolis, Minn., Sept. 19-21, for the Minnesota Gold Classic. UWM takes on Boston University on Friday and Brown on Sunday.