MILWAUKEE (Oct. 30, 2013) -
With just one game left on its schedule, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women's soccer team heads to Rochester, Mich. Friday with the Horizon League Championship on the line. Milwaukee takes on league newcomer Oakland Friday at 6:30 p.m. Central Time. The Panthers control their own destiny and if they win, they will claim their 14th-straight league crown and the No. 1 seed in the league tournament.
The Last Meeting
October 12, 2003
Late Goal Pushes Oakland To 2-1 Victory Over UWM
The game of soccer is all about taking care of scoring opportunities. Unfortunately for the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee women[APOS]s soccer team, the ability to finish quality chances eluded them en route to a 2-1 defeat at the hands of Oakland University here Sunday (Oct. 12). The contest, which featured two teams on impressive winning streaks, was clinched when OU scored in the game[APOS]s 88th minute. The loss drops UWM to 6-6-1 on the season while ending its six-match winning streak. Meanwhile, the win was the seventh consecutive for the Golden Grizzlies who improved to 9-3-1 on the season.
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Just the Facts...
Milwaukee is squaring off against Oakland for the first time since the 2003 season. The Panthers are 2-3 all-time against the Grizzlies, with four of the five contests being decided by one goal.
The Panthers aiming for their 14th-consecutive league championship. UWM controls its own destiny heading into the final regular-season match, and a win Friday would clinch the No. 1 seed in the league tournament.
Milwaukee is 7-3-1 in its last 11 matches. In that span, the team has scored two or more goals eight times, three or more four times and twice they have scored four goals.
Milwaukee head coach Greg Henschel notched the 300th win of his coaching career earlier this season with a 2-1 victory over Illinois State (Sept. 20).
The Panthers as a team are also recorded win number 300 in program history. Milwaukee's 2-0 shutout of Green Bay last Wednesday marked the milestone win.
Milwaukee enters the final game of the regular season controlling its own destiny in the league standings. The Panthers are 5-1-0 in league play and a win at Oakland Friday would secure the program's 14th-consecutive league title.
It was another offensive highlight reel for the Panthers last week after a pair of home wins at Engelmann Stadium.
Kelly Lewers started the show with a pair of goals in Milwaukee's 2-0 win over in-state rival Green Bay Wednesday evening. It was the second shutout of the season for the young Panther squad in their fourth league victory of the season.
UWM then made it five wins in six conference games in a thrilling comeback win Saturday afternoon, taking down Youngstown State, 3-2. Lewers made it three goals in two games, Morgan LaPlant scored to tie the game with just over 11 minutes left and Kelsey Holbert scored the game-winner with just 3:40 left on the clock to give Milwaukee the dramatic victory on Senior Day.
Oakland University is in its first year in the Horizon League this season. The Grizzlies come from the Summit League, where they had won the league title seven times and advanced to the NCAA Tournament eight times, including last year where the Grizz upended Ohio State in the first round before bowing out to No. 15 Texas A&M.
This season, OU is 9-7-1 overall and 4-2 in league play. After falling to Green Bay and Wright State to start its Horizon League schedule, the Grizzlies have now rattled off five wins in a row, including four in league play. Meghan Reynolds leads the team with six goals, Kyle Kellermann has five and Joan Sleja has dished out an impressive seven assists. In net, senior Payj O'Shea has started 13 of the team's 17 matches and posts a 7-6 record, allowing just 1.60 goals against average.
Although Oakland is in its first year in the Horizon League, Milwaukee has squared off with its newest conference opponent a few times over the years. The two teams have met five times, with the Grizzlies leading the overall series, 3-2. The five matchups came in a five-year span, starting in 1999. UWM won the first two contests, both resulting in 2-1 overtime wins. OU then took the next three, including the most recent game in the series back in October of 2003.
Although the Panthers only had seven home games on their schedule this season, that didn't stopped the fans from coming out and packing Engelmann Stadium. 4,109 fans went through the turnstiles for Panther home games this year for an average of 587 per game. Milwaukee has had the fourth-most fans turn out in a single season and the team has seen the second- (Aug. 30 vs. Indiana) and fifth-highest (Sept. 23 vs Marquette) attended single games in program history.
Milwaukee has been statistically dominate this season, putting up some impressive numbers along the way. The Panthers have scored 12 goals in Horizon League-only matches, by far the most of any league team. Counting all games, Kelly Lewers and Krissy Dorre are tied with the league lead with eight goals. Dorre tops the charts in points per game and also is the only player to record three assists in one game and is one of two league players to score a hat trick this year. Lewers is also tied for the lead in game-winning goals and the Panthers are tops in assists and assists per game.
While the Panthers have only outshot their opponents just five times on the season, they have been extremely efficient when they do pull the trigger. As a team, UWM has shot better than .230 in three of its team's seven wins, including netting four goals on just nine shots in a victory over MIami (Ohio). Individually, Krissy Dorre has been lethal so far this season, scoring a league-leading eight goals on just 36 shots. In fact, of those 36 shots, an opposing keeper has made a save just four times all year.
Milwaukee has scored 26 goals this season against some of the toughest defenses in women's college soccer. The Panthers netted three against Valparaiso in the league opener, nearly doubling Valpo's goals-against mark up to that point. Kelly Lewers' goal against Indiana was one of just two goals allowed by the Hoosiers during their non-conference schedule. The Panthers also scored twice against a Michigan State squad that has only surrendered eight goals in non-conference play and rarely allows multiple goals in a game. UWM has gone up against four of the top-50 defenses in the country this season (Michigan - 10, DePaul - 15, Marquette - 41, Valparaiso - 43).
So Far, So Great
In just his first year at the helm of the program, head coach Greg Henschel guided the Panthers to the NCAA Tournament. It is a rare feat at Milwaukee, as he is just the third head coach in the department's Division I history to guide its team to the NCAA Tournament in their first season. He joins former women's soccer coach Michael Moynihan (1997) and current men's basketball coach Rob Jeter (2006) as the only head coaches to accomplish the feat.
Panthers Picked Third In Preseason Poll
For the first time in 14 years, Milwaukee checked into the preseason coaches' poll somewhere besides the top of the table. The Panthers received one first-place vote and were picked third in the conference behind Detroit, who is the preseason favorite, and Wright State. UWM has won the Horizon League title 13-straight years and have gone to the NCAA Tournament nine times in that span.
Players of the Week
Milwaukee's women's soccer team has put together
some impressive individual performances this season, and the Horizon League office has taken notice.
So far, the Panthers have garner four league player of the week awards this season. Krissy Dorre was the first to be honored by the league on Sept. 9 after recording a hat trick in the second half alone against Vanderbilt. Then, Kelly Lewers got in on the action on Sept. 23 after assisting and scoring the game-winner in a 2-1 win over Illinois State. Dorre then won the award again on Sept. 30 for her efforts in a 3-2 win over Valparaiso, scoring twice and assisting once. Finally, Lewers won the award for her second time Oct. 28 after scoring three goals and also assisting once in wins over Green Bay and Youngstown State.
The Mighty 300
Both the Milwaukee women's soccer team and its head coach Greg Henchel notched milestone wins over the course of this busy season. With a 2-1 win over Illinois State on Sept. 20, Henschel reached the 300th win in his coaching history. Then, the Panther team logged its 300th win in program history with a 2-0 blanking of Green Bay on Oct. 23 to give UWM its second milestone moment just six games apart.
Milwaukee sports one of its youngest rosters in recent memory in 2013, with 12 either true or redshirt freshman on the squad. In fact, with four sophomores on the team this year, over half (16 of 27) of the team is comprised of underclassmen. Don't count those young Panther out though, as five players have already seen playing time at the collegiate level and plenty are expected to contribute from the deep freshman class.
After another impressive season in 2012, Milwaukee has now claimed the Horizon League Championship 13-consecutive times. That run is second in the nation only to Big Ten power Penn State (15-straight).
Back in Black (& Gold)
Despite having just three seniors on its roster, Milwaukee returns 14 letterwinners from last season, including seven starters. The list of returners includes the likes of all-league first-team members Kelly Lewers and Kelsey Holbert, as well as second-team all-league members Krissy Dorre and Amy Kauffung. Dorre also was named Horizon League Tournament MVP after netting back-to-back game winners to give Milwaukee its fifth-straight tournament crown.
The Horizon League Tournament starts next week on Nov. 5. Seeds No. 3 and 4 will host games on Tuesday before the regular-season champion school will host the semifinals (Nov. 8) and league championship (Nov. 10).