The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee Panthers Women’s Sports Roundup

October is here, and not only does that mean the weather is changing, but also that conference play is in full swing. This past week the Milwaukee Panthers women’s soccer and volleyball teams continued their Horizon League schedule, each playing one league game.

The women’s soccer team took a one game break from conference play, however, returning to Engelmann Stadium on Wednesday evening for a nonconference matchup against Illinois State.

This was a competitive, hard-fought battle that saw the Panthers walk off the pitch with an impressive 2-1 victory over the Redbirds.

Right from the start, fans could tell that the Panthers were excited to play and wanted to win this contest. For the first 25 minutes of play, Milwaukee dominated the possession, controlling the ball in the attacking third for the majority of the time.

Finally they broke through with a goal in the 28th minute by Kelly Lewers. Anna Smalley sent the ball into the box, where Morgan LaPlant was waiting for it. LaPlant then flicked it to Lewers, who beat a Redbird defender, and fired it into the back of the net, giving Milwaukee a 1-0 advantage.

The game ended up being tied 1-1 at halftime, as Illinois State was able to score only eight minutes after the Panthers took the lead.

After halftime, the Panthers’ offense picked up where they had left off, recording numerous chances to take the lead.

Milwaukee was able to break the 1-1 tie in the 59th minute when Maria Stephans scored a remarkable goal. LaPlant served a cross into the box from the right side, and Stephans flicked the ball perfectly into the weak side of the goal.

With the Panthers ahead, 2-1, the Redbirds kicked it into gear, but they couldn’t find the equalizer.

Milwaukee’s goalkeeper Paige Lincicum had a huge night, tallying a season-high nine saves.

The Panthers returned to Horizon League action on a cold, drizzling Saturday afternoon, celebrating Senior Day, while squaring off against Cleveland State.

Milwaukee controlled the stat sheet against the Vikings, but the score didn’t reflect that as the Panthers settled for a 1-1 draw in double overtime.

Through the first 45 minutes of play, the Vikings lead 1-0. However, after halftime the Panthers came out with more energy and determination.

This showed right away, as the Panthers were able to tie the match up less than three minutes into the second half. Stephans sent an excellent long ball through the Vikings’ defense to Lewers, who was darting down the field. Lewers received the pass, and one-timed her shot past the Cleveland State keeper, tying the match up at 1-1.

The Panthers continued to attack, recording numerous scoring chances throughout the remaining time in regulation and overtime, but were unsuccessful at finding the back of the net.

Although a tie is better than a defeat, this outcome was a little disappointing, especially after they recorded an exciting victory over Illinois State earlier in the week. The Panthers need to show a little more consistency, but with a roster filled with talent, that shouldn’t be an issue.

Milwaukee will have some work to do this week, taking a short road trip north to face their instate rival Green Bay on Wednesday, before returning to classic Engelmann Stadium on Saturday to face Wright State.

With five conference games remaining in the regular season, the Panthers currently sit in fourth place with a 1-1-1-conference record. The Panthers will have to play extremely well the rest of the way, while getting some help from other Horizon League teams, in order to claim their nations best 15th straight regular season conference title.

The volleyball squad was also in action this past week, playing one conference game against instate rival Green Bay at home on Friday evening. In front of an enthusiastic crowd of 819 fans, the Panthers knocked off the Phoenix in four sets (25-18, 23-25, 25-10, 25-15).

Milwaukee was clearly the better team, but mistakes made this match closer than it probably should have been. In the end, the Panthers took care off business to remain undefeated in Horizon League play as sophomore Myanna Ruiz led the way for the Panthers with her third triple-double of the season.

Ruiz finished with 24 assists, 12 kills and 10 digs to become just the second player to have three-or-more triple-doubles in a Panther career.

Julie Kolinske continued her dominance, finishing the match with 19 kills, while Maggie Dunbar also tallied double-digit kills with 13.

At the end of the third set, Taylor Golabowski recorded her 1,000th career dig, becoming the 11th player in program history to reach that mark. She finished the match with 22 digs.

One other historic note that went unnoticed by many was that this win gave them their 1,000th overall program victory.

Although the Panthers let the Phoenix hang-around in the match, this was a solid victory to continue their excellent start in conference play. Now the Panthers will hit the road for a two-game road trip to Ohio. On Friday, they will be in Cleveland to face the Vikings before taking a little over an hour bus ride to Youngstown to face the Penguins. This will not be an easy trip for Milwaukee due to the quick turnaround for Saturday’s game against Youngstown State, but hopefully they can return to campus with two victories.

It is an exhilarating time for the women’s soccer and volleyball teams with conference play underway. Both these teams are extremely talented and are more than capable of winning the regular season conference crown. Time will tell, but it is hard not to be excited about these two teams chances of repeating as regular season conference champions.

Stay tuned next week for the seventh 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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