Saturday, April 28, 2012

Former Panther Wins Crazylegs Classic

Former UWM standout Holly Nearman (pictured left) battled the elements and was the top female finisher at the annual Crazylegs Classic in Madison, Wis. Saturday morning. The 2008 graduate won the 8km(4.97 mile) race with a time of 28 minutes, 59 seconds, a full 23 seconds in front of the next finisher.

Nearman was a two-time All League First-Team member in cross country and was named the 2008 Horizon League Outdoor Athlete of the Year after breaking the school record in the 5000m, missing a trip to the NCAA Championships by one place.

Nearman also was the top female finisher at the 2008 Al's Run in Milwaukee.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Men's Soccer: Spring Game Report vs. IUPUI

The Panthers have six games scheduled for the spring season, which began on April 1. Assistant coach Ben Shepherd will again take time to report on how each match went.

Sunday saw the team travel down to Indiana to play IUPUI, which is a solid NCAA D-I program that is always strong at home and that was shown again last year with a 5-2 record on their own field.

The trip started early for the boys, as we had to leave Milwaukee at 7:30 a.m. to arrive in time for a 3 p.m. EST kick-off which meant it was important that the boys had a good thorough warm-up in order to start the game in the right fashion.

Due to injury and illness, we were down to the 'bare bones' so to speak, and only had two outfield player subs which meant that a few players had to play in unaccustomed positions, which they were all willing to do for the betterment of the team. Although the pitch was extremely difficult to play on and wasn't conducive to intricate play, we still maintained our way of playing and attempted to build off of our last two wins.

In the first half, we had the majority of possession and were in control of the game with Kyle Neumann and James Ashcroft going close with headers and shots from Laurie Bell, Kevin Ferron, Jamie Bladen and Cody Banks were not far off target. Defensively, we were very solid and IUPUI rarely threatened our goal and was limited to no shots on goal in the first half, but our dominance was not rewarded with a goal and so we had to settle for a scoreline of 0-0 at halftime.

In the second half, we started sluggishly and within the first five minutes IUPUI were awarded a penalty which they converted to undo all our good play as we found ourselves trailing by 1-0. However, to give our guys credit from this point on we really took the game by the scruff of the neck and dominated for the rest of the match and after some good play Cody Banks was hauled down in the box to earn us a penalty of our own. He duly dispatched with confidence to notch his fourth goal in three games.

We continued to push forward and Kevin Ferron went close, along with Cody Banks before our pressure finally told as Kyle Neumann was slipped through inside the box and he unselfishly squared the ball across goal for Kevin Ferron to slide home for his second goal in three games to make the final score 2-1.

Although the game was slightly scrappy due to the playing surface, we were happy with our overall performance in that we were in control of the game from start to finish even after going behind, and the pleasing aspect was how we responded and continued to push forward to get the right result.

There were good performances from Robbie Boyd, who had to fill in at right back, Riley Weiner returning from injury was excellent and really worked hard for the team and showed moments of real quality, and Zach Stevenson continued his good form and was probably our best all round player on the day!! Our attention now turns to the Wisconsin Cup, where we will play Marquette at Valley Fields this Sunday at 9:30 a.m. and then later in the day either Madison or Green Bay, which will conclude our Spring Season. So, we look forward to seeing as many of you as possible at the game and appreciate the continued support!!!

Live Blog: Baseball at Northern Illinois

Join UWM assistant SID Chris Zills for a live blog from Ralph McKinzie Field as the Panthers take on Northern Illinois University on the baseball diamond. First pitch of Tuesday's 9-inning affair is set for 3:05 p.m.

Men's Soccer: Spring Game Report vs. Cardinal Stritch

The Panthers have six games scheduled for the spring season, which began on April 1. Assistant coach Ben Shepherd will again take time to report on how each match went.

On Wednesday night, we took on local university Cardinal Stritch, which is a good NAIA program with some good foreign talent. We knew it would make for an interesting game and a worthwhile exercise.

We started the game well and within the first minute went close when Kevin Ferron was slipped through on goal. Although he was unable to get off a clean shot, which possibly later in the game could have been called for a penalty. However; it was Cardinal Stritch who scored first after a long hopeful ball over the top was not dealt with well by us. Their player found himself in a 1 v 1 situation with John Shakon and calmly finished well to give them a 1-0 lead. It was a poor goal to concede from our point of view defensively and was more to do with a lack of concentration than anything else.

To give our guys credit, immediately from the re-start we pushed forward and a good move resulted in Jamie Bladen blasting home from the top of the penalty box to make it 1-1 with an excellent finish.

From then on for the rest of the half, we created some good chances with Laurie Bell, Kevin Ferron, Cody Banks and Robbie Boyd all going close. Although it remained 1-1 at half-time and we were not entirely satisfied with certain aspects of our play which we thought could be a lot sharper.

In the second half, we began to move the ball quicker and apply continued pressure, although we have to give Stritch a lot of credit as they were well organized and worked extremely hard throughout the game and had some dangerous counter-attacks of their own that we had to be wary of at times.

The winning goal came from a set-piece which we did well to keep alive in the second phase and from the right channel James Ashcroft supplied an excellent cross for Cody Banks to calmly side foot home from 6 yards out for his third goal in two games.

We continued to create chances and probably should of made the game more comfortable, but it was a very competitive game and Cardinal Stritch made our guys work for everything. Although our play was a little sloppy at times and not as fluent as the DePaul game, the boys still found a way to win and continued to try and play our way which again was pleasing to see.

For us there were good performances from Zach Stevenson at left back who was solid throughput, Jamie Bladen in the midfield was able to control the tempo of the game well when he was on the ball and Robbie Boyd caused problems throughout.

Thanks again for all the support and we now get ready to head down to Indiana to play IUPUI on Sunday, who are another solid Division I program which should be another good game!!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Live Blog: Baseball at Northwestern

Join UWM assistant SID Chris Zills for a live blog from Rocky Miller Park as the Panthers take on Northwestern University on the baseball diamond. First pitch of Tuesday's 9-inning affair is set for 3:05 p.m.

Men's Soccer: Spring Game Report vs. DePaul

The Panthers have six games scheduled for the spring season, which began on April 1. Assistant coach Ben Shepherd will again take time to report on how each match went.


Friday night saw the team back under the lights of Engelmann Stadium, which represents such a unique atmosphere that everyone was ready to play and put on a good performance against a solid DePaul team from the Big East who made their conference playoffs this year. We were well aware that it would be a stern test.

Again, there was a healthy crowd in attendance, especially for a spring game, and it was good to see so many people coming out in support of the players which really was appreciated.

Since the Northwestern game (our spring opener), we were able to have 12 days to prepare and really work on certain aspects of our play which needed improvement, and the players responded well to a few new ideas and worked hard during this time to get ready for the game. The game started at a fast pace and we had some good spells of possession. Although at times we gave the ball away too often after transition and didn't connect with our first pass, which is something that we stress as a team.

DePaul, like any Big East Team, was well organized and and looked to counter quickly and capitalize on any mistake that we made by playing balls in behind us. On the whole, I thought we dealt with quite well. From the midpoint of the half I thought we really began to get a hold of the game and our midfield three of Jamie Bladen, Alex Megna and Laurie Bell began to take control. We started to play our possession based free-flowing game which we have been working on.

We went close through Laurie Bell, Cody Banks and Robbie Boyd without really testing DePaul's keeper enough and then one lapse of concentration at the back allowed a DePaul forward to be through on goal and he coolly slotted home from 12 yards out which meant we went in at half-time trailing 1-0; somewhat undeserved.

At halftime, we talked about keeping our belief and sticking to our way of playing and that the chances would come and early in the second half after a good spell of play, Robbie Boyd was played through on goal and was brought down just outside the box, which resulted in a free kick and red card and Cody Banks stepped up to bend a free kick over the wall and into the bottom corner to get us back on level terms.

With it being a spring game, both coaching staffs thought it was appropriate for DePaul to still play with 11 men to keep it a competitive game.

From this point on, as a team, I really felt we played well and passed the ball as well as we have for a long time. After a sequence of over 20 passes, Robbie Boyd nutmegged his defender on the end-line and put in a great cross which Cody Banks hammered home from 8 yards out to put us 2-1 ahead.

We continued to push forward and Alex Megna had two strikes from distance one which went close (and one not so close), and Laurie Bell was unlucky not to get on the end of a good through ball.

With around 15 minutes left, a clash of heads with a DePaul player left Adam Hutchinson requiring treatment which would later require stitches but he returned to the fray, head bandaged, although the boys said the look did nothing for his modeling career!!

With just under 10 minutes remaining, after defending a set-piece in our own box the ball broke for Jamie Ashcroft to burst forward on a counter attack reminding us of his supposed center forward days as a Youth Player and he played a good ball into Laurie Bell who found Kyle Neumann running in the left channel who fired across goal for Kevin Ferron to slide home after running fully 70 yards to get into the box to make the final score 3-1.

There were a lot of positives to come from the game and the win was well deserved for the boys, but more importantly was our overall performance as we tried to play good soccer and continued to work for one another. The starting line-up consisted of six freshman, and five of the starters were from Wisconsin with seven in total contributing to the win which was pleasing to see.

As a team, we played well and there were also some notable performances from individuals; Jamie Bladen for me had his best game in Milwaukee colors and looked the best player on the pitch, Cody Banks scored his two goals but his all round game was just as important and he was prepared to work for the team and put DePaul's defence under pressure especially in the second half which was pleasing and Kyle Neumann came off the bench and was able to impact the game and showed that he is listening, improving and developing as a player.

Again, the players would like to thank all those that showed up to the game and we look forward to seeing you this Wednesday when we play Cardinal Stritch in a 7 p.m. match up and hopefully we can get another good result and continue to take positive steps forward.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Panthers Jump To Big Lead In McCafferty Trophy Race

The Horizon League has updated this year's McCafferty Trophy standings and a great winter has sent UWM easily into the top spot for the all-sports crown.

The Panthers won league titles in men’s and women’s swimming and diving and men’s and women's indoor track and field. Milwaukee had trailed Butler by a single point after the fall season but now leads the Bulldogs by 20 points in the race for the crown.

Of the six women’s championships to this point in the year, Milwaukee has captured four, leading to the Panthers’ commanding lead in the women’s all-sports standings. In the pool, Emily McClellan qualified for her second consecutive NCAA Championships after a dominant run at the Horizon League Championship in helping the Panthers to their first women’s swimming title since 2001.

On the men’s side, Milwaukee won the men’s swimming crown for the third consecutive season. The men’s track and field squad captured its ninth straight indoor title, as the Panthers took the lead in the men’s all-sport standings.

Milwaukee is trying to win its first McCafferty Trophy since 2009.

McCafferty Trophy Standings
1. Milwaukee - 45
2. Butler - 25
3. Cleveland State - 24
4. Loyola - 18
Valparaiso - 18
6. Wright State - 16
7. Detroit - 14
8. Youngstown State - 13
9. UIC - 12.5
Green Bay - 12.5

Men’s Sports Totals
1. Milwaukee - 17
2. Valparaiso - 14
3. Loyola - 13
4. Butler - 11
Cleveland State - 11
6. Wright State - 8
7. UIC - 7
8. Detroit - 4
9. Youngstown State - 3
10. Green Bay - 2

Women’s Sports Totals
1. Milwaukee - 28
2. Butler - 14
3. Cleveland State - 13
4. Green Bay - 10.5
5. Detroit - 10
Youngstown State - 10
7. Wright State - 8
8. UIC - 5.5
9. Loyola - 5
10. Valparaiso - 4

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Apple Puts Bayern Munich in German Cup Final

Sarah Hagen netted her first professional hat trick Monday, scoring three goals and assisting on a fourth in Bayern Munich's 5-2 win over Hamburg in the semifinals of the Frauen DFB-Pokal. Munich moves on to the final May 12 in Cologne, where they will play FFC Frankfurt.

For a nice recap (in English), check out a story over at Wisconsin Soccer Central. The story also includes embedded highlights from the match that were posted on Bayern Munich's website. At the end of the video is an interview with Hagen.

Hagen has six goals so far for Munich, with a pair in Frauen Bundesliga action. The team is back in action April 15 against SC 07 Bad Neuenahr. Munich has picked up nine out of 12 points since Hagen has joined the team and currently tied for sixth in the league table, just two points out of fifth.

Photo from @Jimmy_Silvah

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Men's Soccer: Spring Game Report vs. Northwestern

The Panthers have six games scheduled for the spring season, which began on April 1. Assistant coach Ben Shepherd will again take time to report on how each match went.


Sunday saw the guys take the field as a team for the first time since last November against a very good Northwestern side who won the Big Ten this year and advanced to the NCAA National Tournament for the 5th time in the last 6 years. So, we were all aware that we faced a stern test for our opening spring contest.

We started the game in good fashion and kept the ball well for extended periods of time and looked to try and play the passing game that we had been working on the entire week of training which was good to see. Northwestern also looked to try and play the right way, which made for an entertaining half which was far more competitive than the average spring game - which sometimes lacks any form of real edge or intensity.

Kevin Ferron came closest to breaking the deadlock with an excellent effort from 20 yards out towards the end of the half which the Northwestern keeper did well to keep out and at half time we went in at 0-0 satisfied with our performance.

We again started the second half well and continued to look to pass the ball and play our way creating a few half chances without really testing their keeper enough. But by the midpoint of the half, Northwestern's match fitness after already tying Wake Forest this spring seemed to hand them the initiative. It was during this period that our play became a little sloppy - more through fatigue than anything else - and they were able to force the ball home after a few ricochets in our box to open the scoring which was unfortunate on our part.

To our guys credit, we battled back and seemed to find our second wind and pushed for an equalizer and Kevin Ferron had a goal disallowed for a foul on the keeper and Cody Banks had a header that went narrowly over and it was Northwestern that seemed to be holding on at the end.

Unfortunately, we were unable to get the goal that I think our overall effort, commitment, and general play possibly deserved. Although I would of liked to have seen us more threatening in the final third there was certainly a lot of positives to take from the game. Defensively, we looked very solid and Luke Davey playing out of position at right back was excellent, in the midfield, Alex Megna, Laurie Bell and Jamie Bladen acquitted themselves well in a new formation and Kevin Ferron looked dangerous throughout.

Considering as a team we had only trained for one week in the entire month of March, I was extremely pleased with our showing and I think the boys showed good character and a willingness to play and support one another which was important considering the circumstances.

Our next game is against DePaul University, another Division contest on Friday 13th with a 6pm Kick-Off and we look forward to seeing as many people at the game as possible as the support on Sunday really was appreciated by the players and everyone connected with the program.


Coach Shepherd

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Final Basketball Numbers

With the conclusion of this season’s NCAA Tournament, the college men’s basketball season is officially complete. That means all national statistics are now final, and UWM has a pair of top-10 finishes.

Point guard Kaylon Williams finished ninth in the nation in assists per game, averaging 6.5 per contest. He also won the Horizon League assist title for the second-straight year, becoming the first player to lead the league in assists two years in a row since Martell Bailey (UIC) did it in 2002-03 and 2003-04. Plus, his 6.5 assist per game average is the highest since Javier Mendiburu (Green Bay) tallied 7.1 assists per contests in 2004-05. Williams finished the year with five 10-assist games this season, while there were only four others total around the rest of the league.

Meanwhile, UWM’s three-point defense was stellar all season long. The 29 percent tally for opponents finished eighth in the country and marks the first time the Panthers have ever held opponents below 30 percent from the three-point arc in a season. Milwaukee was also 58th nationally in scoring defense, allowing 62.5 points per game.

On the offensive end, the Panthers finished 45th nationally in three-point field goals made per game, averaging 7.8 per contest. That number was also second in the league. Plus, Tony Meier finished 87th nationally in three-pointers made per game.

Finally, with the NCAA’s official RPI has not yet been released, the final national polls show some of the tests the Panthers faced in their non-league schedule. In the coaches’ poll, Michigan State finished seventh, Marquette 10th and Wisconsin 12th. In the Associated Press poll, Michigan State was fifth, Marquette 11th and Wisconsin 14th.