Milwaukee Men Open Home Schedule Friday With Panther Invitational

UWM hosts Wisconsin, Binghamton and Cal State Northridge

Sophomore Robert Refai

Sept. 9, 2008


Game 5: 35th Annual Panther Invitational
• UWM (1-2-1) vs. Binghamton Bearcats (2-1-1)
• Engelmann Field
• Milwaukee, Wis.
• Fri., Sept. 12, 7:30 p.m.
• First meeting in the all-time series

Game 6: 35th Annual Panther Invitational
• UWM (1-2-1) vs. Cal State Northridge (3-1-0)
• Engelmann Field
• Milwaukee, Wis.
• Sun., Sept. 14, 2:30 p.m.
• First meeting in the all-time series

Note: All games will be available on Gametracker
on the UWM website -

The University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee men's soccer team opens the home portion of its 2008 schedule by hosting Wisconsin, Binghamton and Cal State Northridge in the 35th Annual Panther Invitational this weekend, the longest-running in-season Division I soccer tournament in the United States.

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Wisconsin and Cal State Northridge will get things underway at 5 p.m. Friday, followed by UWM taking on Binghamton under the lights at Engelmann Field at 7:30 p.m. Sunday's games will see a Wisconsin-Binghamton matchup starting at noon, followed by the Panthers taking on Cal State Northridge at 2:30 p.m.

All games will be available on Gametracker via the Panthers website at

Wisconsin is very familiar with the Panther Invitational, as it will be making its 18th appearance all-time in the event. The Badgers have compiled a record of 22-12 in the tournament, including 1-1 last season when they finished second and a 2-0 mark and tourney title in 2006. They are off to a 3-0-1 start this season and receiving votes in the polls. Both Binghamton and Cal State Northridge will be making their first appearances at the tournament. The games will also be the first in each all-time series against UWM.

2008 Panther Invitational--Schedule of Games
Friday, Sept. 12, 2008
Wisconsin vs. Cal State Northridge, 5 p.m.
Milwaukee vs. Binghamton, 7:30 p.m.

Sunday, Sept. 14, 2008
Wisconsin vs. Binghamton, noon
Milwaukee vs. Cal State Northridge, 2:30 p.m.

The Bearcats return nine starters from the 2007 squad that went 14-6-0. In addition, eight seniors are on this year's roster and they were recently chosen to finish second in the America East preseason poll. The team is off to a 2-1-1 start, tying Colgate (1-1 Sept. 5) and defeating Cantral Arkansas (2-0 Sept. 7) over the weekend.

Binghamton has won two of the last five America East championships, have advanced to the past five conference title games and have captured the last two America East regular season titles.

CAL STATE NORTHRIDGE: The Matadors went just 7-7-6 overall in 2007, posting their lowest overall win total and the most ties in team history. They have an experienced squad comprised of nine returning starters and 16 letterwinners, with Sunghyun Kim (4 goals), Camilo Rojas (4 goals) and second team All-Big West selection Rafael Garcia (2 goals) leading the way. Returning for his final season is Kevin Guppy, a fixture in the net for the Matadors who has played in 60 of the 61 matches in his career and the school record-holder in wins (29) and shutouts (21.5).

The squad is off to a fast 3-1-0 start this season, posting three-straight shutouts after dropping its season opener, 1-0, to Gerogetown. The clean sheets have come against Alabama A&M (2-0 Aug. 31), CSU Bakersfield (3-0 Sept. 5) and UNLV (2-0 Sept. 7). They are now No. 10 in the NSCAA Far West Regional rankings this week.

WISCONSIN: The Badgers will be the fourth team at the tournament, but will not play the Panthers. Wisconsin is off to a 3-0-1 start and ranked sixth in the region, winning its own invitational last weekend. It returns 16 letterwinners from last year's team, which finished 6-7-6 overall. That includes first-team All-Big Ten selection Victor Diaz, who has led the Badgers in scoring in each of his first three seasons.

The Panthers have not played the part of gracious tournament host in the past 34 versions, owning a 49-20-1 all-time record in the event while earning the tourney title in 20 of 34 tries. UWM went 0-2 last season, but has been the champion in this event in five of the last 10 years (last winning in 2002) and went 2-0 as recently as 2006.

The Panthers opening-round game Friday will mark the home opener for the team. If past trends hold, success will be following: the Panthers have gone 24-8-3 in home openers at Engelmann Field. UWM opened last season with a 2-1 loss to Drake after starting 2006 with a 3-0 victory over IPFW and beginning 2005 with a 1-0 win over Oakland. The Panthers dropped their home opener, 4-1, to Tulsa in 2004 and lost, 1-0 in OT, to Denver to start 2003. Milwaukee topped DePaul to start both 2002 and 2001 at home.

The team enjoyed the highs and lows of a late score, defeating Dayton, 1-0, on a goal in the 90th minute Friday before falling, 2-1, to No. 14 Santa Clara on an 89th-minute tally Sunday.

Freshman Eric Frazier provided the drama Friday, netting the first goal of his UWM career with just 41 seconds remaining to provide the difference against Dayton. On Sunday, the favor was "returned", as No. 14 Santa Clara avoided the upset-minded Panthers, scoring with just 72 seconds left to escape with the win. Frazier and senior goalkeeper Grant Fernstrum were each named to the all-tournament team for their efforts.

The winning goal that Eric Frazier netted Sept. 5 against Dayton is one of the latest goals to be scored, time-wise, to claim a victory for UWM in regulation and avoid overtime in quite a while. It marked the latest a winning Milwaukee goal was scored since Neil Dombrowski netted the game-winner with just 33 seconds remaining in the match against Akron on Oct. 5, 2003.

Freshmen Evan Bartzis and Eric Frazier have both made nice impressions to the beginning of their UWM careers, with the duo now first and second on the charts for points and shots taken. If you take that a bit further, freshmen have actually accounted for each goal and assist that the Panthers have recorded this season. In addition to the three goals scored by Bartzis and Frazier, freshman Nick Dundon has an assist and Frazier has a helper as well to account for all eight of Milwaukee's points on the season.

The last time a freshman scored the first goal of the year was to open the 2001 campaign, when Antou Jallow was the first to hit the nets against DePaul in the season opener.

The Panthers love to play at Engelmann Field and their record over the years proves just that. Their all-time ledger at the field entering the 2008 campaign is 195-69-20, an impressive .722 winning percentage. With nine games on the home slate this fall, looks like UWM will be celebrating victory No. 200 on its storied home field at some point this season.

The Panthers are looking forward to getting on the field in 2008, as they return six starters and 10 letterwinners from last year's squad. Add that to an impressive group of 16 newcomers and head coach Jon Coleman is looking forward to get the 2008 regular season started.

In playing Missouri State to a 1-1 draw Aug. 31, UWM saw a streak get extended once again that they would like to put to rest: the team is now 0-7-12 in its past 19 overtime matches. It was 0-2-3 in 2007, 0-2-2 in 2006, 0-3-5 in 2005 and lost in extra time in the final match of the 2004 season (2-1 at UCSB in the NCAA Tournament). The Panthers last OT victory came Oct. 31, 2004, a 1-0 win over Cleveland State.

The Panthers got the 2008 season off on the right foot, marching through a two-game exhibition slate where they went back-to-back games without allowing a goal. The first came Aug. 18 with an impressive 1-0 victory over Bradley, a team that advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament after winning regular season and tournament titles in the Missouri Valley Conference a year ago and entered ranked No. 21 by the NSCAA's preseason poll. The Panthers then toppled UW-Whitewater, 3-0, Aug. 20 with an impressive overall performance, using all 20 players that were dressed and healthy for the game.

The four goals were scored by four different players, including two by newcomers. Sophomore Robert Refai led the way with eight shots in the two games, with junior Nicholas Gerard-Larson, sophomore Peter Sanger and freshman Nick Dundon recording four each. Dundon and senior Travis Phillips topped the team with three points (1G/1A).

In goal, seniors Grant Fernstrum and Ryan Germann split the time in half in each contest, with the defense playing so well in front of them that they were only called upon to make five total saves combined.

Three seniors on the 2008 squad will look to go out on a high note, and a return trip to the NCAA Tournament is what they have in mind. After going to the second round of the tournament in their freshman season, Travis Phillips, Grant Fernstrum and Adam Skalecki look to improve on their NCAA ledger with a return trip this fall. The fourth senior on the squad, Ryan Germann, was a transfer to Milwaukee after his freshman season at American University.

After a slow start to the 2007 season, the Panthers righted the ship in time for the start of Horizon League play. In their eight conference games, the team gave up just five goals (posting four clean sheets) for a team goals against average of 0.61.

They held edges in every statistical category: goals (9-5), assists (8-5), shots (95-85), shots on goal (41-31) and corner kicks (48-38). Five different players accounted for the five game-winning goals en route to a second-place showing in the standings.

The Panthers hit a significant milestone in their program history a year ago against Detroit Oct. 12: all-time victory No. 400. UWM had entered play in 2007 with an all-time mark of 397-222-53, a .635 winning percentage.

1: Marquette, 4-1 (9/22/73)
50: Green Bay, 4-0 (10/7/78)
100: Northern Illinois, 4-3 (11/6/82)
150: Cleveland State, 2-1 (10/18/87)
200: Michigan State, 4-0 (10/13/91)
250: Cleveland State, 5-0 (10/15/95)
300: Loyola (MD), 2-0 (9/17/00)
350: Detroit, 3-0 (9/28/03)
400: Detroit, 1-0 (10/12/07)

UWM had three players honored for their work in the classroom by the league office last year. Steve Bode, Zeke Dombrowski and Ken Ogorzalek were all named to the Horizon Academic All-League Team in December. Dombrowski was also selected as the league Scholar Athlete of the Week in October.

After graduation, Ogorzalek went on to receive a prestigious Graduate Research Fellowship from the National Science Foundation to pursue his graduate degree at the University of California-Berkeley in structural engineering. Nearly 40,000 students apply to the NSF fellowship program each year, less than 1,000 go on to earn the awards.

The Panther men were also once again named a recipient of the NCSAA/adidas Team Academic Award from the National Soccer Coaches Association of America.

If it feels like the Panthers have been in every match but haven't been able to catch a few necessary breaks the past few seasons, it could be considered a factual statement. After a 2-1 defeat at the hands of No. 14 Santa Clara Sept. 7, the trend sounds familiar: 18 of the last 23 UWM losses dating back the past two-plus years have been by one goal.

Further analysis of the schedule a year ago shows just what kind of competition head coach Jon Coleman had on the schedule. Overall, the combined W-L-T record of all opponents for the season was 169-149-79, a .525 win percentage. For comparison, UIC, which won the league tournament and made a deep run into the NCAA postseason, ended the year with an opponent W-L-T record of just 216-210-83, a .505 win percentage.

Seven of UWM's 2007 opponents were ranked at one point during the season and the W-L-T record of the teams that handed the Panthers their 12 losses was 122-72-48 (.604).

In 2006, the Panthers overall record consisted of nine losses, with eight of them one-goal setbacks. Three of them came at the hands of Top 25 teams: 1-0 to No. 2 SMU Aug. 27, 2-1 to No. 6 Washington in overtime Sept. 10 and 1-0 to No. 12 UIC Oct. 3.

UWM closed out the 2007 season by playing its ninth 1-0 game of the year against UIC in the league tournament. After starting 0-5 in such decisions, the Panthers did record victories in three of the final four, going 3-6 in those nine 1-0 affairs.

Despite a 2-3-2 mark at Engelmann in 2007, the Panthers still rank right up there with the best in the country when it comes to home-field advantage. In 2006, that was no different, as the Panthers posted back-to-back shutouts to open the home slate and finished 7-2-1. Since the start of the 2001 season, UWM has turned Engelmann Field into a place visiting teams do not want to see on their schedule. They have gone 52-8-3 on their home pitch in that time, including a 13-2 mark in postseason play and a perfect 2-0 mark in NCAA Tournament action.

After wrapping up his college career in 2007, Steve Bode was drafted by the Chicago Fire of MLS and by the Milwaukee Wave.

In addition to Bode continuing his career in the world of professional soccer, former UWM player Tenzin Rampa was also drafted following his senior campaign by the Milwaukee Wave in the fifth round of the 2008 Major Indoor Soccer League College Draft.

The Panthers were picked by league coaches to place fifth in the Horizon League regular season, according to the results of the preseason poll announced Aug. 18 by the league office. Milwaukee has advanced to the NCAA Tournament in five of the past seven seasons, reaching the second round in the last four it appeared (2002-05). It has compiled a league record of 39-7-4 in that time.

UIC, which advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament last season and is ranked as high as No. 16 in the national preseason polls, took the top spot for the second-straight year with 64 points and eight first place votes. Green Bay landed in second, compiling 52 points to edge out Loyola, which had 51. Butler (43) came in just ahead of UWM (39), with Valparaiso (26), Wright State (20), Detroit (16) and Cleveland State (13) rounding out the poll.

1. UIC (8 first place votes) - 64 pts.
2. Green Bay (1) - 52
3. Loyola - 51
4. Butler - 43
5. Milwaukee - 39
6. Valparaiso - 26
7. Wright State - 20
8. Detroit - 16
9. Cleveland State - 13

After playing in three-consecutive weekend tournaments to open the 2008 schedule, Milwaukee will have just one game next week. The Panthers host SIU-Edwardsville Saturday at 7 p.m.



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