The 3rd Man In

The 40th Panther Invitational is this weekend

After traveling to Iowa to square off against the Drake Bulldogs last Sunday, the Milwaukee Panthers (2-0) are returning to classic Engelmann Stadium for the 40th Panther Invitational starting on Friday evening.

Over the last 39 years the Panthers have had mixed results in their own tournament. They own an all-time record of 55-20-3, while winning the tournament 23 out of the 39 times.

After winning the hardware in 2011 and 2012, the Panthers fell just short of capturing the trophy for a third straight year. Milwaukee went 1-0-1 in the Invitational last season, recording a heart breaking tie against Drake in double overtime and knocking off Bowling Green State.

Cross-town rival, Marquette, was able to squeeze past the Panthers with a 2-0 record to claim the trophy.

This season however, the Panthers look to reclaim their trophy. It will not be easy though, as they will welcome Oregon State and Gonzaga to Milwaukee to take part in the longest running in-season Division I soccer tournament in the United States.

For the first time ever, half of the games will be hosted at Valley Fields for both of the contests featuring Marquette.

This will be the first time the Beavers hit the road as they beat Evansville and Central Florida in the Nike Portland Invite to begin the season. In Oregon State’s two contests they are averaging two goals a game, while their defense has been nearly perfect allowing less than a goal a game.

Senior midfielder/forward Khiry Shelton has been the Beavers top offensive player this season recording two goals and six shots on goal.

Following the battle against Oregon State the Panthers will go head-to-head against Gonzaga. Prior to the Bulldogs matchup against the Panthers they will play at Marquette on Friday.

To begin the year Gonzaga is 0-1 after suffering a tough 4-0 defeat at home to #6 Washington. The Huskies experience was just to much for the young Gonzaga squad to handle.

The Bulldogs were only able to record five shots with two of them being on goal throughout the entire 90 minutes of play.

While Gonzaga had a challenging time against nationally ranked Washington, expect them to be better against Milwaukee. No team wants to lose by four goals, and the Bulldogs are going to want to prove that they are a better squad than their first game showed, by beating a NCAA Tournament qualifier from a year ago.

It is going to be an exciting weekend with two talented teams coming to Engelmann Stadium to take on the Panthers. These two contests will not be easy, and Milwaukee will have to play their best if they want to reclaim the Panther Invitational trophy.

If the Panthers can play the way they have in their first two games, there is an excellent chance that they will be placing the trophy back into the Athletic Department showcase.

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