The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee heads out east for weekend tournament

After splitting the 40th edition of the Panther Invitational this past weekend, the Milwaukee Panthers (3-1-0) will return to the pitch to face two ranked teams, George Mason University (3-0-0) and American University (3-1-0), during this weekend’s Capitol Cup tournament in Washington, D.C.

These two teams enter the weekend ranked inside the NSCAA National top-25. When the rankings came out Tuesday afternoon, George Mason came in at No. 22, while American arrived in at No. 19.

Milwaukee and George Mason will go head-to-head Friday evening, in the first ever matchup between these two programs. Panther head coach Kris Kelderman will also be returning to one of his old stomping grounds, having served as an assistant coach with the George Mason Patriots from 2005-07.

The Patriots have gotten off to an excellent start to the young season, knocking off Howard, American and Wisconsin in their first three contests of the season.

Statistically George Mason has dominated opposing teams offensively, averaging over three goals a game, but in their season opener against Howard, the Patriots’ offensive attack recorded seven goals. Following this offensive explosion, George Mason has come down to earth, scoring one goal against American and two against Wisconsin.

One player the Panthers defense will need to focus a lot of their attention on is, senior forward Timi Mulgrew, who has recorded five goals, three coming against Howard, on nine shots. Although most of his goals came against Howard, Mulgrew is known for his scoring, last season he led the Patriots with 22 goals.

Sophomore Steffen Kraus has earned the majority of minutes in goal for George Mason this year, starting all three games, while allowing only one goal. Last season Kraus played every single minute for the Patroits, accumulating numerous awards including being named to the Third Team NSCAA All-American list.

George Mason is going to be an extremely difficult team, as they are dangerous offensively and rarely make a mistake defensively. This match will come down to the wire, as these two NCAA Tournament qualifiers from a year ago battle it out.

After this difficult game against George Mason, the Panthers will square off against American on Sunday afternoon.

American is ranked for the first time since 2010, following an overtime victory against No. 1 UCLA last weekend.

Besides their victory against UCLA, American has beaten George Washington and UC Riverside, with their only defeat coming against George Mason at home.

This season American has been defensively sound, allowing only one goal in their first four games, while offensively finding the back of the net five times.

Their offense is extremely balanced, as five different players have scored all five of their goals. While sophomore midfielder, Panos Nakhid, leads the team with 10 shots, despite not recording a point.

In goal for American will be junior keeper Dylan Hobert. Holbert has recorded 0.49 goals against average in the first four games of the year, while logging two shutouts.

Milwaukee has an extremely challenging weekend ahead against two of the best teams in the country, and defensively they will have to play at the top of their game, limiting the amount of shots the opposing squad has on goal. These games will not be easy, but if the Panthers are able to limit their mistakes while taking advantage of most of their opportunities, they will have a shot at returning to Milwaukee with two impressive victories.

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