MILWAUKEE – The Panthers continue to have a hard time putting the ball in the net, failing to score for the fourth consecutive game in a 1-0 loss to in-state rival Wisconsin on Wednesday night at Englemann Field.
Milwaukee has been a solid defensive team this season, and the game vs. the Badgers continued to follow that model. However, the same offensive woes plagued the team once again. Coach Kris Kelderman commented on what his team could have done differently and remained positive.
“Scored a goal,” he said. “That’s been our struggle the last number of weeks. The fight and the energy is good. I actually think we are playing very well. Very good soccer. We’re playing to our gameplan… we’re playing the way I like to play. It’s just, at the end of the day, we’re not putting the ball between the goalposts.”
High-energy, physical play was prevalent in the game, particularly in the scoreless first half. The Panthers had an opportunity in the 33rd minute, but a shot from forward Peter Raymonds was saved by Wisconsin goalkeeper Adrian Remeniuk.
The Badgers got the go-ahead goal in the 51st minute when midfielder Mike Catalano, following a Milwaukee turnover, snuck a low shot inside the left goal post that Panthers’ goalkeeper Agustin Rey dove at a split second too late.
From there, the road squad played on the defensive. UWM, who has been an aggressive unit during the current offensive slump, once again created opportunities. Raymonds, in the 61st minute, hit a shot that barely missed over the cross bar. Fellow forward Reid Stevenson also had a shot turned away at the post 12 minutes later.
Rey made a key save in the 79th minute to keep the deficit at one, but the team could not capitalize down the stretch.
Kelderman commented on his team’s chances of responding to the recent tough times.
“We’ve got three conference games left and we just gotta get some results,” he said. “You get to conference tournament and you win three games, which is in a matter of six days, and all of a sudden, you find yourself in the national tournament. So, is it a possibility? Absolutely.”
Much like last year, Milwaukee is experiencing growing pains. Senior Declan Rodriguez commented on his leadership role on a young team through tough times.
“It’s definitely hard,” he said. “You gotta keep them understanding that we still have a chance to make the conference tournament and it’s not over yet. But, definitely, my senior year, I want to make an impact and bring these young kids up and make the most of the season for them and for myself.”
The Panthers won the shots battle, 18-10, with both teams hitting three on goal. Milwaukee also had five corner kicks to Wisconsin’s three.
Milwaukee has a chance to snap the skid on Saturday in Cleveland, Ohio vs. Cleveland State. Kickoff is scheduled for noon.