The 3rd Man In

Milwaukee Panthers Women’s Sports Roundup

With summer winding down, and school almost back in session, the fall sports programs are back to competing for another chance to finish atop the Horizon League standings. Year-after-year the bar is set high for the Milwaukee Panthers women’s soccer and volleyball teams, and this year it is no different.

The women’s soccer program has, once again, been predicted to win the Horizon League, as they strive to win the conference crown for a 15th-straight year – the longest active streak in Division I women’s soccer.

Milwaukee returns most of last season’s roster, including conference player of the year Kelly Lewers and first-team all conference players, Krissy Dorre and Kelsey Holbert.

Paige Lincicum, Kelly Manski and Maria Stephans also return for their sophomore season, after being key contributors on last season’s squad.

Through the first four games, the Panthers have had mixed results. They began the year losing 5-0 to Tennessee and 2-0 to Oregon in Madison, Wisconsin. Then Milwaukee traveled to Columbia, South Carolina to take part in the Garnet & Black Classic, squaring off against the College of Charleston and #12 South Carolina.

The Panthers were able to record their first win of the season, knocking off Charleston 4-2, but fell to South Carolina 2-0. Although Milwaukee played well, the breaks didn’t go their way, and the Gamecocks were able to outlast the Panthers to win the game.

Although the Panthers are only 1-3 through the first four games of the year, they have played some tough opponents. The one positive that has come out of these contests, is that they continue to improve.

It is a grind to go up against some of the better teams across the country, and the Panther’s nonconference schedule continues to be a challenge, as they will welcome Boston College and DePaul to Engelmann Stadium this weekend.

While the final result may not be what fans hope to see, these nonconference matchups are getting the Panthers ready to play at an extremely high level once Horizon League play begins on September 24 at home against UIC.

As long as they continue to show growth throughout these difficult matchups, Milwaukee will have set the foundation for playing well in conference and earning the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.

After struggling through an injury-riddled 2012 season, the Panthers volleyball team returned to glory in 2013, winning the Horizon League and making a trip to the NCAA Tournament.

Despite the loss of 2013 Horizon League Player of the Year, Rachel Neuberger, the Panthers have been selected by the league coaches to win the conference title once again.

Milwaukee returns many key players from a year ago including senior Julie Kolinske, who was named the Preseason Offensive Player of the Year, juniors Kayla Price and Maggie Dunbar, senior Taylor Golabowski and sophomore Myanna Ruiz.

The Panthers kicked off their season this past weekend winning the Pepsi Panther Invitational by sweeping straight sets against Robert Morris and North Dakota State, and then coming back to beat Miami (OH) 3-2.

Miami was by far their toughest team of the weekend, as Milwaukee had to dig down deep and earn their victory. After being down two sets to one, the Panthers earned a hard-fought win in the fourth set and never trailed in the fifth to clinch the title.

Kolinske and Price were named Co-MVPs of the tournament while Golabowski was also named to the All-Tournament team.

This was an excellent start to the season for the Panthers, as they demonstrated that they will be a difficult team to beat once again this season.

Now they will hit the road for the Missouri State Wynn Invitational. The team will play Oral Roberts and Incarnate Word this Friday, and then they will close out against Western Kentucky and Missouri State Saturday.

It will not be easy for Milwaukee to play four games in two days, but if they play the way they did in their first three games of the year, there is no question that there is a good chance of them returning home with another trophy.

Over the last 10 to 15 years the women’s soccer and volleyball programs have been extremely competitive, earning conference title after conference title. Make sure to catch some soccer games or volleyball matches Panther fans because these teams will not disappoint. Once again they are going to be competitive, and have an outstanding chance of winning a Horizon League championship.

Stay tuned next week for the second 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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