MILWAUKEE – The Panthers’ season came to a close Thursday night following a loss against Wright State at Engelmann Stadium in the Horizon League tournament semifinal.
This caps off yet another tremendous season for Milwaukee, (11-3-4) as last night’s contest followed the 15th regular-season Horizon League title in 16 years for the Panthers.
Milwaukee led the game the majority of the way, striking first on the scoreboard when junior Maria Stephans netted her fourth goal of the season from close range at the 26:16 mark with an assist from Anna Smalley.
After missed opportunities by the Panthers throughout the game, Natalie Sedlock of the Raiders scored a crucial goal for her team in the 83rd minute to tie the game up, eventually sending it to penalty kicks where the Raiders won in the fourth round, 4-3, behind a goal from freshman Mattie Cutts.
UWM head coach Troy Fabiano alluded to missed opportunities to seal the deal as factors in the loss.
“We were on our heels a bit in the second half and could not finish it out,” Fabiano said. “We wish we could have finished our earlier chances and avoided the shootout altogether.”
Overall, the Panthers finished their 2015 campaign on a 10-game unbeaten streak (7-0-3) and had a multiple players honored for the contributions to the team this season.
The Panthers had seven players receive all-league honors and specialty awards this season, with six of those seven expected to return next year.
Along with being named defensive player of the year, sophomore Cassidy Blanchard represented the team on the first team, with Stephans also receiving the honor.
On the second team, the Panthers were represented by juniors Paige Lincicum and Callie O’Donnell along with sophomore Anna Smalley. They were joined by senior Kelsey Holbert.
Freshman Kellie Swenson got in on the award action as well, being named to the Horizon League All-Freshman team.
Fabiano recognizes how bright the future can be for the Panthers, who also went an astounding 8-0-1 in their conference.
“We have a great foundation to build on for the future,” Fabiano said. “While it is difficult to look forward today, we do have a bright future and we will only continue to get better.”
The Panthers look to build on a foundation of success set this season, as they hope for another solid campaign next year in which they can do better in postseason play.