With the Milwaukee Cup on the line, Panthers Men’s Soccer prevailed in 2-0 win over crosstown rival Marquette.
The stands were filled to the brim at Engelmann Stadium Tuesday night, with a great showing of fan support for both sides. The crowd was roaring from the beginning and the Milwaukee student section loud as ever. The Panthers controlled possession early. The Golden Eagles of Marquette made a couple runs at the Milwaukee goal in the first several minutes, but their efforts were not enough as the Panthers defense stood tall and rejected everything in close proximity. Marquette struggled greatly on corner kicks as the UWM student section heckled them with constant noise. Spending a lot of time in Golden Eagles territory during the early minutes of the first half, Milwaukee found the net for the first time during the 17th minute. Senior forward Reid Stevenson capitalized with a quick goal off of a beautifully sharp pass from fellow senior forward Nick Moon. The Panthers celebrated their first goal with an immense amount of emotion, getting the crowd involved.
Stevenson spoke on how it felt to score the first goal of the night.
“I mean scoring a goal is the best feeling in the world, and to do it in a game like this is crazy,” said Stevenson. “The amount of people here and the whole team backing me, it was insane. It was a really good feeling.”
That goal set the tone for what ended up being a very successful night for Milwaukee. A foul in the 22nd minute set the Panthers back momentarily, as it allowed the Golden Eagles to enter their territory. The Milwaukee defense was relentless, making sure no ball went near the goal. The Panthers scored once again in the 38th minute, coming from Moon. He one touched the ball from a ricochet, and scored at the bottom right corner of the net, igniting the crowd. It was quite a successful half on the offensive side of the ball for Moon and Milwaukee.
The Panthers started the second half with the ball. The second half had a plethora of fouls and yellow cards. Marquette midfielder Grant Owens opened the half with a yellow card, putting Milwaukee’s Jaime Colin down on the turf. He was slow to get up, but eventually returned to action. Another Panther, defender Johnathan Stadler, found his way to the ground in the same minute. He got up and was able to make his way over to the sideline under his own power. The Golden Eagles began to press hard on defense. Milwaukee struggled with it for a short period of time. Panthers defender Jake Kelderman continued the trend, and picked up a yellow card in the 55th minute. The two teams traded possessions and penalties for a large part of the second half. The match became very physical, and emotions ran high. It was very slow moving, as the clocked was stopped several times for injuries. Substitutions were made by the Panthers in order to give a few starters a short breather.
Midway through the second half, Milwaukee made some very strong lead passes that unfortunately did not turn into anything significant. Marquette did a decent job of containing the Milwaukee offense, only allowing two shots on goal in the 77th and 81st minutes. The Panthers managed to fight off the Golden Eagles, and brought home the Milwaukee Cup. Reid Stevenson expressed what it meant to him and the team to win the Cup on home turf.
“It’s good to finally get it,” said Stevenson. After four years of trying, I think we’ve had two ties and a loss, and were able to finally pull off the win senior year. I couldn’t ask for anything more at the moment, so hopefully it’s a sign of heading in a new direction and a better direction for the team for the rest of the year. It’s a good win.”
Like Stevenson eluded to, no one on this current roster has won against Marquette until Tuesday’s 2-0 victory. The Panthers hoisted the Milwaukee Cup at midfield and celebration ensued.
The Milwaukee Cup has a home here at UWM. Milwaukee now sits at a 4-4-2 record on the season. They will now shifts its focus to the Northern Kentucky Norse, a Horizon League rival, as they come to town Saturday night at 7 p.m.