The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee Panthers Women’s Sports Roundup

It was another electrifying and competitive week for the Milwaukee Panthers women’s soccer and volleyball teams. Both programs went up against challenging competition as Horizon League play began this past week.

The women’s soccer team returned to classic Engelmann Stadium on a beautiful early fall Wednesday evening, opening up Horizon League play in attempt to claim their NCAA best 15th straight conference regular season title. It was an exciting environment as Milwaukee dominated the inexperienced UIC Flames to win 4-1 with three different lady Panthers getting in on the scoring.

The Panthers bounced into the scoring column right away when Krissy Dorre found the back of the net off of a pass from Kelly Lewers for her third goal of the season.

Although Milwaukee dominated the offensive possession, it was not until the 41st minute that they were able to add on to their 1-0 lead. Sydney Senn put a shot on goal from just inside the 18-yard box, and initially the Flames’ goalie made the save. However, the ball deflected off her hands and slowly rolled into the back of the net increasing the Panthers’ lead to two.

Dorre was than able to record her second goal of the game just 42 seconds out of halftime. Once again Lewers set it up for Dorre.

Milwaukee continued to tack it on when defender Cassidy Blanchard recorded her first college goal off of a corner kick from Maria Stephans. Blanchard headed the ball in to extend the Panthers lead to four in the 58th minute.

The Flames were able to record a goal in the 81st minute. Despite the one goal, Milwaukee’s goalkeeper Paige Lincicum had a solid showing tallying eight saves.

Although the Flames have struggled this season, this was an excellent showing by the Panthers, as they played well on both sides of the ball.

With their first conference victory in the books, the Panthers looked to continue their momentum, hitting the road to play Youngstown State on Saturday. Despite dominating the majority of the game, the Panthers couldn’t hold on to two leads, falling 3-2 in double overtime.

Morgan LaPlant started off the scoring for the Panthers in the 30th minute when she collected the ball near midfield and dribbled through the Penguins’ defense, launching a shot from just inside the 18-yard box for her fourth goal of the season.

In the 56th minute, the Penguins were able to tie it up. However, the Panthers came right back, with a goal by Dorre to take a 2-1 lead. This goal was Dorre’s 25th career goal, moving her into a tie for fourth in program history.

In the 75th minute the Penguins came back to tie the match up at 2-2 after the ball flew over everybody’s head into the back of the net.

Milwaukee recorded two solid chances in the final 11 minutes of regulation. A ball by Vienna Behnke flew just high over the goal in the 79th minute, and the Penguins’ keeper saved a Lewers header in the 84th.

In the overtime period, the Panthers dominated the possession, recording four shots compared to only one by the Penguins. But, none of these chances resulted in a goal, pushing the game into double overtime.

Only 55 seconds into the second overtime period, the Penguins were able to take advantage of their only opportunity in the overtime periods scoring the game-wining goal after a failed clearance by the Panther defense.

Despite losing late on the road, the first week of Horizon League action was a success. The Panthers played well the majority of time on both sides of the ball, scoring numerous goals each game while playing well defensively. Every game there are going to be missed opportunities and mistakes, it is just a matter of making sure it doesn’t happen in a crucial part of the match.

Unfortunately, the mistake happened late in the match against Youngstown State, but the conference season just started, and the Panthers are an extremely talented team and I would expect them to rebound aggressively from the loss. This learning opportunity will make the Panthers better in the long run.

The Panthers will take a break from conference play on Wednesday evening taking on Illinois State, before going head-to-head with Cleveland State Saturday afternoon. Both games will be played at classic Engelmann Stadium.

The Panther volleyball team also had two Horizon League matches this past week, taking on the UIC Flames and the Valparaiso Crusaders at home.

On Friday evening, Milwaukee looked to start their conference season off on the right note against UIC. It was a close, competitive match that saw for Panther players record double-figures in kills, as the Panthers won in four sets (25-18, 27-29, 25-19, 25-18).

Maggie Dunbar finished with 16 kills, while having an impressive .517 hitting percentage (1 error/29 attacks). Myanna Ruiz also had a big day, recording a double-double with 15 kills and 33 assists.

Julie “Killer” Kolinske registered 14 lethal put downs, while Hannah Blanchard had 11 kills for the Panthers.

This was an excellent team effort for the Panthers. It wasn’t an easy match, as the Flames continued to fight back, but they were able to keep their composure to earn their first conference victory of the season.

After a solid victory against the Flames, the Panthers returned to the court Saturday afternoon to take on the challenging Crusaders. Entering the match the Crusaders held an impressive 14-1 record, and they showed why they have been nearly unstoppable this season.

The Panthers were not intimidated by the record, and met the challenge like a true champion, knocking off the Crusaders in a thrilling five set match (27-25, 25-21, 14-25, 20-25, 15-12).

Ruiz led the way, recording her second career triple-double with 25 assists, 17 kills and 15 digs. Taylor Golabowski also had a season-high 23 digs, to lead all players.

Kolinske and Dunbar once again tallied double digits in kills, while Taylor Gruber had 17 assists and Maddie Schmitz recorded 14 digs.

After winning the Panthers won the first two sets, the Crusaders came back to take the next two, forcing a fifth set.

Valparaiso looked like they were going to win the fifth set, after jumping out to an 8-2 lead in the fifth set. But, the Panthers fought back, and trailing 5-9 they scored seven-straight points.

Panther fans were now on the edge of their seats, waiting in anticipation to see if the Panthers could pull out the victory. The Crusaders didn’t quit when Milwaukee gained a 12-9 lead, but the Panthers were able to close it out on a Dunbar kill to secure the win.

This was an exhilarating match for Milwaukee, securing a victory over their toughest conference opponent. Now the Panthers will have nearly a week to prepare for their next match against Green Bay on Friday evening at home.

A week into Horizon League play the women’s soccer and volleyball teams appear to be a threat to win the conference regular season titles once again this season. Both teams played well this past week, and they will look to continue their success at home again this week. These matches for both squads are always exciting and competitive, and make sure to come check them out and cheer the Panthers to victory.

Stay tuned next week for the sixth edition of the Milwaukee Panthers Women’s Sports Roundup to be up to date on everything happening with these two successful programs.

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