The 3rd Man In

Horizon League play begins

Conference play is here! The Milwaukee Panthers (3-4-1) will open up Horizon League action against Cleveland State (2-5-0) at classic Engelmann Stadium on Saturday evening.

The Vikings are coming to Milwaukee on a five-game losing streak, all losses coming on the road, after starting the year beating Salem International and Marshall. Cleveland State has played some difficult competition so far this season, losing to North Carolina State, Wake Forest, California and Cincinnati.

In their five losses, the Vikings have scored two goals while allowing 18 goals to their opponent.

Leading the Vikings’ offensive attack is sophomore defender Sergio Manesio, who has a team leading two goals and nine shots. Five other players have each tallied a goal this season.

Sophomore goalkeeper Nick Ciraldo has started five out of Cleveland State’s six games, recording one shutout while allowing a 2.97 goals against average.

Senior midfielder Laurie Bell is going to be an important player for the Panthers’ offense. Bell racked up a list full of accolades and was the best offensive player in the Horizon League last season, but this year he has gotten off to a slow start. He has been unsuccessful finding the back of the net through Milwaukee’s first eight games, although he leads the team with 25 shots, 14 of them being on goal.

Bell is due for a breakout performance, and there would be no better way to start the conference schedule by having a big day offensively and leading the Panthers to victory.

Conference play is always an exciting time, and this game shouldn’t disappoint. Both team have struggled as of late, and are desperate to start the Horizon League schedule off with a victory. Whichever team is able to come out of the gate strong and take hold of the momentum early, will have the advantage in this contest.

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