The Horizon League Champion UW-Milwaukee Panthers were unable to advance to the second round of the NCAA Men’s Soccer Tournament losing to the Badgers 1-0 on Thursday night. The win extends Wisconsin’s home unbeaten streak to a nation-best 14 games. The last team that Wisconsin lost to at home was the Panthers last season 1-o. 1,473 fans were in attendance for the game at the McClimon Soccer Complex.
Panthers Goalie Liam Anderson, along with their back line, have only allowed more than one goal once this season. Wisconsin forward Chris Pence scored his second goal of the season off an assist from All-Big Ten first team Midfielder Nick Janus in the 13th minute of the game.
“You play to win and we didn’t get the result,” Panthers Head Coach Kris Kelderman said after the game. “A lot of credit to Wisconsin, they’re a very good team. They’re a tough team to play on any field, much less their home field.”
Outside of the first 15 minutes, the first half of the game was played pretty even. Even though Milwaukee led on corner kicks, 5-2, both teams had 5 shots in the period.
Milwaukee ended the game with eight more shots than Wisconsin and six more corner kicks. The Panthers came out aggressive in the second half, as they had a 9-1 shot advantage in the half. However, they were unable to convert any of their shots into goals. Wisconsin Goalie Max Jentsch was able to save the three shots that Milwaukee had on goal.
“When we played them the first time it was a similar story,” said Senior Andrew Stone. “It was a story of two halves.”
Both teams ended significant droughts since making their last NCAA Tournament appearances. It was the first time that the Panthers Men’s Soccer team has made a tournament appearance since 2005. While the Badgers had not made the tournament since 1995. Wisconsin ended up winning the national championship in 1995.
Milwaukee was unable to collect the game tying goal despite many close shots late in the game. Senior James Ashcroft sent a header over the net in the 85th minute of the match.
“I thought we played well enough in the second half,” Kelderman said. “We created some chances, we couldn’t put one away to tie the game unfortunately.”
Anderson kept the one-goal deficit as he made a pair of impressive saves late in the first half, diving to stop a shot from Janus in the 33rd minute along with stopping a close shot in the 42nd minute.
Horizon League Player of the Year Laurie Bell ended the game with 4 shots and 1 shot on goal. However, Bell was unable to get his only shot on goal past Jentsch.
The loss ends the season for UW-Milwaukee with a final record of 15-3-2. The Badgers move on to face Notre Dame in South Bend in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday. The Panthers’ 15 wins are the most in a season since 2003 when they won 16 games.