The 3rd Man In

Panthers fall in NCAA Tournament

It has been a great ride, but unfortunately it had to come to an end. The Milwaukee Panthers have had a great and exciting season, and tonight they tried to continue their dominance against the Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA Tournament. Although it was a hard fought game, the Panthers (15-3-2) fell to the Badgers (14-4-2) 1-0 to be eliminated from Tournament play.

Wisconsin was able to score the lone goal of the game in the 13th minute as Chris Prince found the back of the net from 6 yards out. Besides this goal the Panthers were able to control the offensive possession the remainder of the game. They had the advantage in shots, 14 to 6, and corner kicks, 8 to 2.

“I am proud of my guys, I am proud of the effort. Kelderman said. I thought in the second half we were better than we were in the first half,” said Kelderman. “I thought we looked a little disorganized in the first 15 minutes of the game and, unfortunately, I think it cost us. But, we regrouped at halftime, we came out a better team, we created some chances but couldn’t put one away to tie it.”

In the second half the Panthers looked like a completely different team from the first half. They came out with more energy, as they dominated the offensive possession. Milwaukee was able to record nine shots while Wisconsin only had one. Even though the Panthers had the Badgers backs to the wall, they were not able to take advantage of any of their opportunities.

Declan Rodriguez, in the 52nd minute, had the ball within striking distance, but his shot went sailing above the goal. Then in the 54th minute Laurie Bell took the pass from Rami Younes in the box, and was able to get a great shot off, but Badgers’ goalie, Max Jentsch, was able to make an impressive save.

The Panthers had two more great chances within the final 11 minutes of play. In the 79th minute James Ashcroft had the best chance all night for the Panthers, as he received a pass from Bell, but his header hit off the top post. Then in the 85th minute Younes sent a long serve to Ashcroft, but his header was high at the end line.

Liam Anderson had another solid game as he made two incredible saves to keep the Badgers at one goal. In the 33rd minute Nick Janus had a short shot on goal, but Anderson was able to make a remarkable save. Then in the 42nd minute Brian Hail had another close shot, but he was unable to get it past Anderson.

Minus the one goal, the defense had another great game. They have been solid all season, and only allowing the Badgers to get one shot off in the second half was a huge reason why the Panthers still had a chance to win this game at the end.

“I like to think our defense has been solid all year,” said Andrew Stone. “They are a good team. We tried to limit them as much as we can. In the second half, it’s win or go home. So of course we gave it our all on defense.”

This was a tough end to a phenomenal season. The Panthers had their opportunities, but were just unable to find the back of the net. Milwaukee now ends their season with a 15-3-2 record, the most victories since 2003. It was a fun run, and one thing is for sure, with Kelderman at the helm, this team will continue to have great success in the upcoming seasons.

“Obviously, it’s a disappointing result. We play to win and look at the result,” said head coach Kris Kelderman. “A lot of credit to Wisconsin, they are a very good team – a tough team to play on any field, much less their home field. Give them a lot of credit. I hope they advance and represent our state in a way they have all season long.”

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