The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee Panthers Women’s Sports Roundup

It was a busy week for the Milwaukee Panthers volleyball team who had to play three matches over a five-day span, while the women’s soccer squad had an extremely important game against Oakland on Saturday.

Despite outshooting and dominating the possession, the women’s soccer team was unable to find the back of the net, settling for a scoreless draw against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on a cold, windy Saturday afternoon in their last home match of the regular season.

In a rematch of last season’s Horizon League Tournament Championship game, the Panthers were the better team in this match, displaying more confidence and fight, but they failed to take advantage of their opportunities.

In the 68th minute, Maria Stephans had her shot blocked, but the rebound went right to Caity Bestwina’s feet. She took one touch before firing a shot on goal. It was a low liner towards the bottom corner of the box, but Oakland’s goalie was able to make a diving save.

Morgan LaPlant also had a beautiful opportunity to put the Panthers ahead, but the Golden Grizzlies’ keeper hit her shot over the top of the goal.

This match marks the third straight game the Panthers offense has been shutout, despite generating many scoring opportunities.

Paige Lincicum had a solid afternoon in goal, making two saves to record her first clean sheet of the season.

With this tie, it is going to be extremely difficult for the Panthers to make the conference tournament. Only the top six teams make the postseason, and currently Milwaukee is in eighth place. They will need to win their final two conference games in order to even have a chance, but it will not be easy as they are both on the road against the two top Horizon League teams this season.

Their first test is set for Wednesday night in Valparaiso, Ind. when they travel down to face the first place Crusaders.

Milwaukee’s volleyball squad also had a challenging week, playing three games against challenging competition. On Tuesday, the Panthers welcomed Western Michigan to the Klotsche Center for a nonconference battle. The Panthers were able to win the match three sets to one (25-20, 18-25, 25-17, 25-20) to earn their first-ever win over the Broncos in program history.

Maggie Dunbar led the way for Milwaukee with a career-high 20 kills, while Hannah Blanchard also had a big night registering 12 kills on a .435 hitting percentage along with four blocks.

Following this nonconference match the Panthers returned to Horizon League action on Friday night against Wright State. This was a hard fought matchup, that the Panthers were able to win in four sets (25-21, 25-22, 14-25, 25-22) to remain a perfect 8-0 at home.

Kayla Price had a big night dishing out 54 assists to go along with 12 digs, while Julie Kolinske was unstoppable tallying 25 kills. Myanna Ruiz also had an excellent performance recording 19 digs and 11 kills.

This was a solid win, but the Panthers couldn’t continue this momentum less than 24 hours against the Oakland Golden Grizzlies on Saturday.

Oakland dominated the match, taking advantage of Milwaukee errors. After falling to Green Bay the night before, the Golden Grizzlies came to Milwaukee and knocked off the Panthers in four sets (23-25, 25-21, 25-18, 25-18).

After the Panthers won the first set, it was all Oakland who hit .500 and .467 in the second and third sets.

Despite the loss, Kolinske and Ruiz put together solid offensive efforts, each tallying 14 kills.

This was a tough way to end the three-game home stand, but at the halfway point in conference play; the Panthers sit in a three-team tie with Oakland and Youngstown State for first place, with a conference mark of 5-2.

Milwaukee will now hit the road, playing two conference matches next week, first traveling down to Indiana to face the Valparaiso Crusaders on Friday night before making the trip to Chicago, Ill. on Saturday to play UIC.

It is going to be a big week for the women’s soccer and volleyball teams, as they have to go on the road to play some difficult competition. They will have to play at the top of their game, while making very limited amount mistakes if they want to win. It will not be easy, but hopefully both teams can return to Milwaukee with victories.

Stay tuned next week for the ninth 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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