Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Nights Under the Lights: Entry No. 4

Hey fellow Panthers, and welcome to entry four of “Nights Under the Lights,” where things have really started falling into place as we go into the final part of the season. We have found a bit of a rhythm on both the offensive and defensive sides to our game, which has definitely come through perseverance, hard work, and repetition on the training pitch. With five Horizon League victories on the trot, we can really start to look forward to the excitement of post-season coming up the first week of November!

Anyways, after a fantastic win away to Cleveland State, we had the next week to prepare for first-place challenging Wright State at Engelmann on the upcoming Saturday. It was a good week of preparation and despite the weather conditions, everyone was raring to go against a top side in our conference. After a hard fought first half, we went into the locker room one nil down, but we had looked confident and still had high hopes of coming away with a result. We took the beginning of the second half by the scruff of the neck and got our reward through Evan Conway who tied it up at one apiece. Against the run of play Wright State regained the lead, but not for long before Jaime Colin put the ball into the back of the goal off a low cross from captain Jason Svensson. At the end of 90 minutes it was knotted at two goals each, but we all knew we deserved three points. With that belief, came a sudden death goal from Evan Conway just under five minutes into overtime! It was potentially our biggest win of the season, and teams around the league were really starting to take notice of our recent results and performances.

That game gave us even more confidence leading up to our next Horizon League game in ‘Motor City’ against the University of Detroit Titans. We had another full week to recover and prepare for the trip to Detroit, which was another crucial match where we expected nothing less than three points. Arriving to the match, most of us knew the atmosphere wasn’t going to be great so we were determined to make something out of nothing and create a positive environment for ourselves. We took control of the match from the start, and despite a defensive error and going down a goal fairly early, we continued to create lots of chances and looked very dangerous. Nick Moon scored our lone goal of the half, and we went into half time wanting even more. Reid Stevenson found himself in the right place at the right time to find our game winner, and Evan Conway found himself on the score sheet yet again. A convincing away win against a very tough opposition who looked to get the ball in the air as much as possible, it was a very positive ride home back to MKE.

After two full weeks of preparing for the past two matches, we had a quick turn around against in-state rivals Wisconsin-Madison. Madison is a top side amongst division one this season, and were making a name for themselves amongst the top schools with some good results and resounding performances. However, we knew we were in a very good place with some great performances on our backs, and we were all eager to test ourselves against some of the best around the nation. The air was brisk, and it felt like a true late October night, and the game started off a bit slow where each team assessed the other out. The match picked up in the second half, and chances occurred at each end, with Freddy Lorenzen coming up with two spectacular saves. Big time keepers come up in big time games when the team isn’t playing at the top of their game, and Freddy made sure to give us the best chance possible to carve something out of this one. The match ended nil-nil through overtime, but we showed resilience and proved we weren’t going to be merely pushed aside like many may have thought prior to the match up.

Our attention turned back to conference play, where we’d slowly moved our way up the rankings and were fighting for a top spot. IUPUI were up next at home, and they’d struggled throughout the season to pick up results, but we knew they’d be playing without any pressure and we were ready for the fight. Another brisk night at Engelmann, where we honored our four seniors Magnus Flaatedal, Nick Moon, Reid Stevenson, and Jonathan Stadler, who are big time leaders for our group in different ways and have shown that from the beginning of my career at UWM and throughout this season. We took control of this one from the very beginning, and both Jaime Colin and Evan Conway found the goal yet again early on in the match, and our dominance continued. Jake Kelderman opened up his account for the season after getting on the end of a Vuk Latinovich set piece, and from there it was a comfortable win that could have ended with plenty more goals for us.

Now, we look forward to our final match of the season in Michigan against the Oakland Grizzlies, who are fighting for postseason action as we fight for a top seed in hope of potentially hosting the conference tournament. Things are looking more positive than they have all season long, and we want to do our best to extend our season for as long as possible! Thanks for tuning in yet again, and hopefully there’s a lot more to celebrate come my next entry!

-Frankie

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Nights Under the Lights: Entry No. 3

Hello again Panther fans, and welcome to the third entry of ‘Nights Under the Lights!”

We’ve seen a couple trophies, some competitive matches, and emotions flying all around us on and off the pitch, so there’s a lot to cover in this week’s entry! As I mentioned in my prior post, the season continues to fly by day-by-day and we can hardly catch our breath as we enter the final third, and possibly the most important part of our season. Our team has continued to grow and improve over the course of this season and we’ve definitely had several learning experiences together as a group, which have enabled us to look nothing but forward for the challenges ahead.

Picking up from last time where we came across a tough Belmont side, we took a couple days away from the field to reflect and we came back onto the pitch hungrier than ever. Northern Illinois was our next opponent, which included the second of three trophies on the line we’d fight for this season, the LeWang Trophy. We took the short bus ride down to Northern Illinois and we were eager to earn the trophy back after falling to them at home last year in the dying seconds. The game had a rather slow start as each team assessed one another, until Jaime Colin picked up the ball from about 30 yards out and picked out the top right hand corner! 1-0 up, and from there we established our dominance and fought for our lives. It was a very well-earned victory and a nice bus ride home with the LeWang trophy strapped in alongside captain Sean Reynolds.

We used that victory to fuel us going into another conference game against UIC at home on the upcoming Saturday. UIC knocked us out of the Horizon League Semifinal last season and both teams needed conference results, so it was set up for a high-paced and intense match. We came out of the blocks slow, and gave up two early goals, which made things very tough from the start. We earned one back from a Latinovich penalty but couldn’t find the net again and the match ended 2-1, which was somewhat disheartening from such a great performance a few days before. But as many teams will figure out during soccer season, you can’t dwell on the past and we immediately turned our focus to the exciting Milwaukee Cup against Marquette at Engelmann in three days time.

Since my freshmen year we had never won against Marquette, fall or spring, and no player on our current team had won the Milwaukee Cup during any fall season, so you can probably imagine how revved up our team was. Both coaches and players had an unbelievable amount of energy leading up to the match, and it showed when the match kicked off. We took off and pressed Marquette from minute one till the clock hit 90, nothing stopped us, and I’m sure our sophomore striker Evan Conway will tell you he hadn’t, nor will ever again, run that much in a match. Both seniors Reid Stevenson and Nick Moon scored, which made things that much sweeter for them to lift that trophy in front of our own fans at the end of the match.

We turned our attention back to conference, and while we left that result against Marquette in the past, we still had some of the juices running and wanted to keep that ball-rolling heading into the Northern Kentucky match up. We knew we had struggled in conference play, but we also knew one win could quickly turn things around and that’s what we did against Northern Kentucky. Another fantastic performance that lead to yet another 2-0 win, where we worked extremely hard, created a few good chances, which were taken by Evan Conway and Henrik Fennefoss, and things were looking up and there was a great vibe in the locker room after two well-earned victories.

Our attention quickly turned again to SIUE who we’d seen a couple times in my Panther career, but never in regular season play. They were always a competitive team that played good soccer, but we were on a high and felt we could take advantage of that. Unfortunately things didn’t go our way, and we came away with a 2-0 loss, which reflected our play. It was a rather unexpected performance, where energy lacked and the quality wasn’t quite there from us, perhaps so many games in a short amount of time. Either way, we weren’t making excuses because we knew the other team was in the same situation, so we took the match on the chin and had another quick turn around.

Cleveland State was up next, who had some positive results in conference play and were looking confident in securing an early playoff spot. We had spoiled their playoff hopes last year in the final match of the season with a last-minute goal, and our team wanted to come out and remind them of that result from last season. There was a sense that we were going to be an easy match for them, but we were determined to prove them we weren’t there for the taking. The first half ended a stalemate with limited chances on each end, but 15 minutes into the second half Nick Moon found himself bursting past his defender and slotting the ball in far post. Along with that, I was lucky enough to find myself on the score sheet with my first goal of the season, which gave us a 2-0 lead that we held onto till the end of the match! A confident display from us, and we feel as though we’re picking up some steam and getting hot at the perfect time. We’re still right in the mix of things regarding conference play and play off spots, so we will continue to fight every day and work for what we feel we deserve! Thanks for tuning in, a rather long entry this week but nonetheless we appreciate you keeping up with us!

-Frankie

Thursday, September 21, 2017

The Lanther Diaries: Entry No. 2

Hello lanther fans!!

A lot has happened since our last blog post. We apologize for the delay as we have been busy with the start of our semesters. We have played 8 games since our last post, resulting in 8 wins and 7 shutouts. On top of that, quite a few records have been broken. With the 7 shutouts, our flawless goalkeeper Mallory Geurts and backline broke the Milwaukee program record for longest scoreless streak (917:27 minutes). That’s 15 hours of playing without letting in a single goal. Wow. This streak is 9th ranked for the NCAA scoreless streak record. On top of that, Mal Geurts has become NCAA’s current leading goalkeeper with the most amount of shutouts (9!!). She has earned four Horizon League Defensive Player of the Weeks, so basically she’s been absolutely killing it!! Finally on an individual note, Aubrey Krahn, Anna Smalley, and Lolo Onwuemeka have all earned Horizon League Offensive Player of the Weeks!!

As a team, we have earned the sixth spot in the region, and have received nine votes for the NCAA national poll. Our record of 9-0-1 breaks the MKE program record for most unbeaten games to start the season. Finally, our latest 2-1 win over Marquette (ranked #19 at the time) was Milwaukee’s first time in 11 years to defeat a nationally-ranked opponent.

Well, with all of those recognitions aside, we have had such a fun start to the season off the field also. In August, we had our 2nd annual “Lanther Hydrolympics”!! We split up into six teams (Germany, USA, Brazil, Italy, Spain, and England), dress up and play each other in different games ... to help us get hydrated. Germany came out on top for the second year in a row (Italy won best spirit by dressing up).

Finally, our loving tradition of playing 5v2 before practice remains strong, even though Kelli Swenson manages to get hit in the face in some way almost every time we play (majority of the times Brooke Polonus is the culprit).

We hope you guys come to our last eight regular season games!! We have all conference games left, so issa bout to go downnnnnn. Our next home game is on September 27th against Green Bay.

****SPECIAL COOL NEVER BEFORE DONE ANNOUNCEMENT**** There will be a DIAMOND ring placed somewhere on Engelmann field after the game (Special shoutout to Kloiber Jewelers). Mind. Blown. Folks, this means if you simply attend our game, you have a chance of winning some fine jewelry (hint hint to all the guys out there- you never know when you’ll need it in the future). So, be there or be ... diamondless.

XOXO, Your Senior Lanths

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Nights Under the Lights: Entry No. 2

Hello and welcome back Panther fans, to this week’s edition of “Nights Under the Lights!”

This first month and a bit has flown right by, and as I mentioned in the last write-up the team continues to work, battle and stay hungry for positive performances and results. The vibe around the dressing room is a positive one and our group continues to grow and learn about one another on and off the pitch.

Picking up from last time, our team hopped on the bus and made the long trip to Evansville, Indiana, for a couple of matches against hosts Evansville University on Friday, and University of Bradley from Illinois on Sunday.

Evansville is a good team with lots of international players who had some great experience, along with a preseason All-American midfielder, but none of that mattered to us come game time. We went down two-nil and we were fighting some adversity from fans and the referee, but we had no doubt in ourselves. Senior Magnus Flaatedal opened his account for the season with a composed finished from the penalty spot, and in the final moments sophomore Evan Conway scored to tie the game. Overtime proved to be a back and forth encounter with chances at both ends, but unfortunately we conceded and came away without a point, which didn’t properly reflect great resilience and a convincing performance.

We brought those positives to Sunday’s match versus Bradley, a team known for their athleticism, set pieces and long throw-ins, and seeing the ball in the air a lot. It was a hot afternoon, but come the second half, you could tell our good possession play started to take its toll on the opposition’s legs. 80 minutes in, it stayed even at 0-0, but finally Evan Conway found himself on the end of a cross to score his second of the season and see us take the lead! Along with that, senior Nick Moon also opened his account after taking on three players convincingly from half way and confidently slotting the ball into the goal to round off a proper performance and a great result for the team. A good three points, along with some bad music selections from Jaime Colin on the bus ride home, we were already looking forward to next weekend’s home match versus in-state rivals Green Bay for the Chancellors Cup.

We had a full week to prepare for the match, which always stirred up emotions from past matches between the two sets of teams. Saturday came and it was a beautiful night, where we were physically and mentally ready to fight in front of a great crowd at Engelmann stadium. The match took little time to get going and both teams saw chances go astray, but neither was willing to make a mistake that would cost a result. Green Bay scored, and the crowd came to a hush as the team looked to regroup and find a second of magic to tie up the match. Again, never count out this team, because come the final 10 seconds senior defender Jonathan Stadler found himself burying the ball into the goal off a corner kick; both the stands and our bench erupt in celebration and we found ourselves in another overtime match. Unfortunately the celebrations were cut short, after Green Bay found a goal a few minutes into overtime to snag the Chancellors Cup from right under our noses. It had a complete sour taste in all our mouths and although we as a team were very disappointed in the result, it fueled us for our next home game against UMKC in three days time.

Both teams surprisingly came out flying out of the gates the start of Tuesday’s game, considering it was an out-of-conference match up. We took first blood from a brilliant finish from senior striker Reid Stevenson, which saw him run over and celebrate with his sister on the sideline. He always said he was a lover, not a fighter. UMKC continued to look to move the ball and keep possession, and they were able to tie the game up and even score a second to make the match 2-1. Luckily though, junior defender sergeant Svensson scored a header off a Latinovich free kick in the final few minutes, and here we were in yet another overtime situation. Both teams looked to play and keep possession, looking to break lines and play good football, which made for a great match up all game. Overtime ran out and we came out with a point against a good team that had only conceded one goal all season before meeting us.

This past weekend we made the long and tedious journey to Belmont University in Tennessee, but we were looking forward to Horizon League play once again and wanted to make an impact. It was hot and humid down in Nashville at midday, and 11 hours on the bus over the course of two days didn’t help our legs, but we were determined to fight for a result. Unfortunately, things didn’t go our way, and we ended up losing to Belmont 2-1. Again, another game we saw slip by at our finger tips.

A record of 2-3-2 after the first third of the season, which continues to fly by day by day, isn’t a terrible place to be in. Each game we felt we outplayed the opposition, had more shots and had the better chances, and now it’s just finding a way to get back to the basics and find a way to put the ball in the goal. We’ll regroup, and look forward to the LeWang Trophy against Northern Illinois this upcoming Wednesday!

Thanks for tuning in once again!

-Frankie

Friday, September 1, 2017

Nights Under the Lights: Entry No. 1

Finding Our Feet

Hello past, present, and future Panthers, as well as our fans!

We hope you’ve had enjoyable, warm and safe summers all round, because soon enough we will be seeing shorter days and cooler temperatures here in the city of Milwaukee. The season of fall is upon us, but what does that really mean? It means that the UWM men’s soccer team’s season has kicked off and has fired straight into action! A team with huge ambitions, exciting expectations, and 32 passionate young men who fight for each other everyday, along with coaches who drive us to be our very best at each and every training session. No one will want to miss out on the “Nights Under the Lights” this season at Engelmann stadium.

In the past we’ve had former soccer players write up some articles for a blog, which looks to give updates on our Men’s soccer team. Former captain Dustin Ashley’s “Back Line Blog” and Laurie Bell’s “Bell’s Blog,” are a couple that come to mind within the last five years. Personally I think it’s important to have a connection and interact with our fans as much as possible, and that’s one of the reasons why I’ve decided to pick up and continue this tradition!

If you don’t know me, my name is Francesco Saporito and I play on the men’s soccer team here at University of Wisconsin Milwaukee. A little bit about me: I’m in my Junior year here at UWM, I’m an international student who was born and raised in the great white north of Edmonton Canada, and I major in Kinesiology, which is involved with sports sciences and sport rehabilitation. Some interests of mine other than soccer include travelling and exploring different cultures, playing board games with my family when I’m back home, and hanging out with my buddies, which usually consists of winning each round of Mario Kart against fellow teammates Josh Kaye and Alex Eastman, but that story is for another day.

But enough about me, and let’s rewind about a month ago to a dry, warm, August day where you pass by Engelmann field and can see our team running shuttles across the field, or otherwise known as EuroFits, as our strength and conditioning coach, Matt Holt, loves to call them. He’s another big part of our team’s project behind the scenes that many fail to see, so a special shout out to him because he’s a special individual who works his tail off for all our athlete’s here at UWM. Captain’s training starts, and you see many returning and familiar faces, as well as a large chunk of new faces around the locker room. These days we spent playing small-sided games, running shuttles across the pitch, and a couple team activities off the pitch to get everyone together prior to the real thing come August 8th. There’s also nothing like a good run to Bradford Beach during captain’s training, where you see co-captain Jonathon Stadler sprint off ahead of the group, demanding more from each of us going into preseason.

Finally we hit the first day of official training with Coach Kelderman, Zenoni, and Rey, who many of you fans I’m sure are familiar with. Both Coach Kelderman and Coach Zenoni have entered their sixth year at the helm of our team here at UWM, while Coach Rey is our goalkeeper coach who played with me during my freshmen year here at UWM. Training started off very good, competitive, energetic, and you could see there was eagerness amongst the group. My freshmen year in 2015 we failed to qualify for post-season conference play, and last season we established third in regular season play, but lost out to UIC in overtime of the post-season semi final match. This year, as I mentioned earlier has even higher expectations, and we’re aiming for nothing but higher this season. Our first preseason match saw us take a 2-2 draw away to a team, which appeared in the Sweet Sixteen of the 2016 season, Loyola, where we won in penalty shootout. Our second preseason match featured our first ever “Black and Gold” game where we played an intersquad amongst ourselves. Finally, our third and final preseason match saw us take on another NCAA tournament team from the 2016 season in the University of Dayton, where we won a thrilling 5-3 match. And just like that, a grueling, yet very positive preseason was over.

Finally, this past weekend we opened up the regular season with two home matches against two teams we matched up against last year in Eastern Illinois on Friday night, and Western Illinois on Sunday afternoon. Both were determined to bring their A-game, knowing that we’d come away with victories against both of them last season, but our group was ready for the challenges ahead. Eastern Illinois came with an organized, defensive plan, and were set on making it a frustrating night for us. Regardless, we persevered and we determined to fight for a positive result. With 4 minutes to play, freshmen Henrik Fennefoss, a very flamboyant and deceptive midfielder from Norway, found himself on the end of Nick Anguil-Andriacchi header and bang, just like that, 1-nil up! 3 points, and we looked to go again Sunday afternoon. Come Sunday, we hit a bit of a roadblock against another very defensive set team in Western Illinois. Unfortunately we went down 1-nil very early, but clawed our way back to 1-1 from a very nice finish from freshmen Vuk Latinovich. Another game where shots were highly in our favor, but we couldn’t quite find that second goal and took away a point each. All in all, it was a positive weekend where we were able to find our feet a little and find areas to work on in training, which is exactly what we did leading up to our trip to Evansville this weekend! Excited, hungry, and keen to take away nothing but six points from both matches, don’t forget to tune in to ESPN3 and watch our this Friday night and Sunday afternoon!

Thanks for tuning in!

-Frankie

Thursday, August 24, 2017

The Lanther Diaries: Entry No. 1

Hello everyone! Welcome to the "Lanther Diaries". This is a blog about our 2017 UWM Women’s Soccer season!

For those of you who don’t know, every year we write a blog about everything that goes on throughout our season! This year, we decided to have all of the seniors be the authors of the Lanther Diaries. The seniors this year are (left to right): Sydney Senn, Maddie Tetzke, Anny West, Erin Corrigan, Mallory Geurts, Jen Eberhardy, Aubrey Krahn, Cassidy Blanchard, Anna Smalley and Kiley Kreple.
FYI – “lanther” is our team nickname ... meaning “lady panther”.













Anyways ... it’s been quite a busy August. We began our preseason on August 1st, a.k.a. Christmas in August, when we got all of our brand new, beautiful gear for the season. We were blessed with cool new tennis shoes, the new Messi cleats, t-shirts, backpacks, sweatpants, sweatshirts and much more. After we got our gear, preseason kicked in with two-a-days. Luckily, we had our first exhibition matches within the first couple weeks, against Loyola University of Chicago and Illinois State. We beat Loyola 2-0 with goals from Lolo and Maddie, but unfortunately lost to ISU 2-1. Our exhibition games were all about getting the new freshman some experience and getting our formation figured out!!
Last weekend were our first real games and overnight road trip!!! The 7-hour bus ride to Akron flew by (not really) but four square, many different bus games, and movies helped a little bit. When we arrived in Akron on Thursday night, we walked around on the field, and went back to the hotel to eat some delicious Olive Garden dinner (breadsticks were on point). On Friday, we had a very intense spikeball tourney (special shoutout to Anny for bringing her net on the trip. We even had some strangers ask if we were professional traveling spikeball players (and of course without hesitation we said yes).

Friday night we played a competitive 90 minutes versus Akron, but the ending score was 0-0. Neither team could find the back of the net in overtime. We had a ton of good chances, but weren’t able to finish them. On Saturday, we traveled to Robert Morris University, where our coach Troy played college soccer. We met Troy’s old college coach, now the head Women’s soccer coach at Robert Morris, who told us a lot about Troy’s good ole days back in college. We heard a lot of funny stories and even were able to ask him some of our own questions.

Later on Saturday, we drove into downtown Pittsburgh and did a little sightseeing until we got stuck in the middle of a thunderstorm. Pour little Gaby Zabala experienced the rain firsthand when she made a bet to run outside in the downfall. On Saturday night, we had our annual Dance Show, brought to you by Sara Petrone and Olivia Davies. A special rendition of “The Boys are Back” from High School Musical was definitely the highlight (mostly because Sara almost fell dancing on a table).

Our game against Robert Morris went very well as we finally scored some goals, beating them 2-0. It was a great win on Yenni Cuatro’s (Jen Eberhardy) 22nd birthday.

This week we are getting ready for another away weekend, with games against Southeast Missouri State on Friday and Eastern Illinois on Sunday. Friday’s game will be broadcast live on OVC Digital Network. Follow along for some lanther action!!

Catch the Lanther Diaries throughout this fall!

-Seniors <3

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Hero Sports Talks Milwaukee's Hot Start

With the 7-1 start to the season, it's hard not to take not of Milwaukee women's basketball this season. That's exactly what Hero Sports' author Alan Dale says in his piece featuring the Panthers' hot start and their matchup Sunday against Northwestern.

Dale writes: "What a start for the University of Milwaukee Panthers.

"A year removed from a solid 19-13 season, the Panthers’ women’s basketball team has exploded into the new campaign with a 7-1 record thanks to a current six-game winning streak heading into Sunday’s big game against the Big Ten’s Northwestern

"Sure, keeping the streak going will be a test, but for these Panthers that may be one they pass again."

To read the entire article, visit HeroSports.com.