Women’s soccer has rough weekend

If it weren’t bad enough that the Milwaukee Panthers found themselves playing “home” games at Valley Fields (UWM students had to pay $2 to get into the game? Whatever, Marquette), the team escaped the MKE Cup with a 0-1-1 record.

Were it not for a surprise goal by Laurel Ragalie late in the game on Friday, we might have been looking at an 0-2 weekend.  Thus is the life of a program playing a ridiculously difficult non-conference schedule.  New Mexico, they of the receiving-votes category, were the only “mid-major” opponent on the Panthers non-conference schedule.  The season-opening victory over Ohio State, though uplifting, seems far in the rear view mirror despite being just a week ago.  Milwaukee stands 1-2-1 overall with just six non-conference games remaining: Marquette, Wisconsin, Kansas, Missouri, and Texas are on the docket, but all coach Moynihan is concerned with today is Michigan State, who will be visiting (near) campus on Sunday; the game will be at Shorewood High School.

What’s worse for Milwaukee is that they once again are playing well for long stretches and still couldn’t come up with the victory.

“One of the good things about playing a tough schedule is you have a shot at redemption right around the corner,”  coach Moynihan said following the match-up.  In fact, he said a lot of things.  And it’s better to get them from him:

Off on the right foot

Sperl has seven game-winners all-time.

Senior Nicole Sperl knocked a looper over keeper Katie Baumgardner in the 80th minute and the Milwaukee Panthers took down the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 2010 season opener at Jessie Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio Friday night.

Sperl and junior Sarah Hagen each scored a goal for the Panthers (1-0), who remain undefeated against the Buckeyes all-time.  Ohio State (0-1), picked to finish second in the Big Ten, drops its first home opener in over a decade.

The Panthers got on the board quickly in the 2010 season.  Sarah Hagen scored her 49th goal all-time in just the second minute, the fastest start to a season since 1991.  Hagen dribbled around the Ohio State defender and put one past keeper Rachel Middleman with relative ease.

For much of the first half, the Buckeyes controlled possession, but only scored one goal, a header by Paige Maxwell off a corner kick in the eighth minute.  At halftime, each team traded out goalkeepers; Leslie Deebach was subbed out in favor of sophomore Jamie Forbes, and Middleman left the pitch, making way for Baumgardner.  Forbes ended up as the only goalkeeper to not let in a goal during the match, but Deebach made three spectacular saves in the first half that stopped the Buckeyes from taking the lead.

It was an unassisted goal in the eightieth minute that gave Milwaukee a victory.  Nicole Sperl took a coughed up ball from the Ohio State side and sent a looper over Baumgardner’s head like a single over the shortstop.  The Buckeye keeper was a bit out of place, and Sperl took advantage.

Excellent defense ended up saving the Panthers.  Milwaukee won despite having a large disadvantage on corner kicks (9-1) and shots.

Hagen’s goal in the second minute puts her just eight back from tying Lisa Krzykowski’s all-time record of 57 goals.

The Panthers have no time to celebrate their victory, as they walk into the home of the Irish on Sunday.  Milwaukee is 1-5 against Notre Dame all-time, and the Fighting Irish are ranked 4th in the nation to start the season.  UND opened the season with a 1-0 victory over Minnesota of the Big Ten.   The game on Sunday begins at 1:30 p.m. Milwaukee time.

Engelmann won’t be ready

In a press release from Milwaukee Athletics, the Sports Info Department let the cat out of the bag, stating that Engelmann Field will not be ready in time for the beginning of the season.

Engelmann Field's progress on Thursday, August 12th.

The bad news comes just two weeks before the women’s soccer team is slated to open its schedule against the New Mexico Lobos in the women’s Milwaukee Cup.  That game, as well as the second match against Auburn, will be moved to Marquette’s Valley Fields, where the other Cup games will be hosted.  Game time for the UNM contest is 5 p.m. and kickoff against Auburn will be 11 a.m.

The women’s team will also move games against Michigan State and Wisconsin.  The MSU game will be at noon at Shorewood High School, just a few blocks north of campus, while the Wisconsin game will move to the UW campus in Madison.

The biggest blow comes on the men’s side, as the Milwaukee Cup match against Marquette will move to Valley Fields.  No word on whether or not the team will play at home next season against MU or if it will be considered a “home” game on the MU campus.

The women’s soccer team has an annual series with UW, and it is unclear whether or not this game on September 12th will be considered a home game in Madison or if UW will gain a home game and come to Engelmann in 2011.

In the press release, head women’s coach Michael Moynihan talked about the benefits. “We are really restricted as far as space. We really haven’t had a practice facility since I’ve been here and the men have been in the same situation,” Moynihan said. “Both teams have been moving around and finding different solutions, which all involve travel off-campus. This is detrimental to the student-athletes as far as class time. With this field, we’ll be able to train on-campus and give our players more flexibility in their class scheduling, as well as give them a place to work on things outside of practice. We’ll have access in the spring, as soon as the snow melts, and that will be a huge advantage.”

The press release can be found here.

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