Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Final Thoughts With Peter Sanger on 2010

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, has been blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his 13th and final blog entry.


So by the time all of you read this, I’m sure that you’ve already found out that our season came to an end in the quarterfinal round of the Horizon League Tournament at the hands of the Loyola Ramblers, 3-0. It was a rough way to go out and thus it’s taken me awhile to finally wrap up my last blog of the season.

The game against Loyola was not a pretty game to remember. We fell behind 1-0 in the first half and in pushing everything we had forward for an equalizer, we got caught on the counter for two late second-half goals. It was a tough game to swallow, because it all became very apparent as the last five minutes ticked down, that this would be my last collegiate game, ever.

In the past, it was easier to deal with, because there was always next season. However, this time around, it was truly the final whistle. It was even harder to deal with, because it was a game where it felt like we really hadn’t left it all on the field. Furthermore, for me personally, I knew that it wasn’t my best either.

Following my aforementioned ankle injury the last time we had played Loyola, I never really felt like the same player. It was something I definitely wasn’t used to dealing with. In the past three seasons, I spent whatever time I sat on the bench thinking that I should have been playing, because I knew that when I got my chances, I could take them. Yet, now I never really knew what to expect out of myself, because one day my ankle would feel almost back to normal, only to feel like I could barely push off enough to walk up stairs at school the next day normally.

I had always imagined going out differently, on top even, but I suppose there’s a reason why those stories are called fairy tales.

Regardless, I know there’s still some people left to thank. First, I’d like to thank the Deutsch Family. It’s lucky enough to have ones own family supporting them, but to have another family doing the same is truly special. Thus, I owe a ton to not only my girlfriend Sydney, but also her parents, Rose and Dave. They’ve truly been a second family; not only attending games, but for the immeasurable support throughout all aspects of life-on and off the field.

Secondly, I’d like to thank those who’ve really been a help to me on the field, since coming to UWM. Firstly, I must thank and old coach of mine, Bob Spielmann. Coach Spielmann was the person to pull the trigger on bringing me to UWM. He convinced me that it was the right place for me to come, and regardless of spending such a short time together at UWM; I’m not foolish enough to forget the thanks owed to him for the opportunity he gave me. I’d also like to thank Chris Dadaian for his positive influence for my first two seasons at UWM. Without him being around, I’m sure that I would have walked out. But most importantly, I’d like to thank the new coaching staff that arrived for my last year of soccer: head coach Chris Whalley, and assistants Ben Shepherd and Kyle Zenoni.

A complete change-up was exactly what not only the current players needed, but the program overall. I still have my notes from our interview with Coach Whalley when he was applying for the job and the things that I wrote down that impressed me the most were his blunt honesty and ambition. I could tell right away that this would be a completely different approach from those in the past. Despite watching all of our game film from the previous year, he gave us all a clean slate-which is what I have to thank him for the most. It could have been so easy to walk into his new job with approach of giving up on the upper-classmen and focusing on the future with younger players and the players that he’d eventually be bringing in himself.

Instead of hearing, “you’re not one of my guys, I didn’t recruit you here,” which is something I had heard in the past, it was “I’m going to play the players who give me the best chance at winning the game”. I felt like I finally had something to play for again and it was a huge lift to have a coach who had your back; shouldering the responsibility when we lost, and diverting the acclaim to us when we won.

Furthermore, I’m thankful for Coach Shepherd as well for everything he brought to the team/program as well. Coming in at half time and to training sessions following games, he’d always have great insight for us players. You can really tell he has a great knowledge of the game, because when he speaks, he doesn’t usually say a lot, but the substance of those few words means more than a coach who just talks your ear off. Last, but not least, a big thanks goes out to Coach Zenoni. I’ve known Z a long time and I know there’s nobody more deserving of a coaching position at UWM than him. Nobody cares about the UWM Men’s Soccer program more than Kyle Zenoni.

When he had just finished his collegiate career, he was helping out with my club team as a favor to a skill coach of ours, Jerry Panek. Seeing first hand, what the next level demanded to be successful was extremely helpful for me and I had never forgot the advice he gave me when I asked for help about reaching my goals of getting there. His incredible work ethic, no matter if he was doing something that will continue to aid the program in the future.

Lastly, I have some people to thank who were there from the beginning ... my family-not only my parents, but sisters and brother as well. I remember bothering both of my older sisters from day one and wouldn’t be who I was without them. My brother John also gave me somebody who made me feel responsible for being a role model-the verdicts still out on how I’ve done there I suppose! Then come my parents ... although we butted heads for much of high school, I can’t begin to thank them enough. Always encouraging me to follow my dreams, despite disagreeing at times the right way to achieve them, their support was paramount. And despite those disagreements on the right path, my mom has always backed and fought for me through everything; which can make all the difference. And then there’s my dad who has been the ultimate role model for me. Not only on the field, but also off. I know that if I become half the man he is, I’ll be more than content.

Well, that’s a wrap. Thanks for joining me through my final season here at UWM. Hopefully, if anything it was a good read and somewhat insightful to boot. Cheers.

Joga Bonito

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

On to the Postseason...

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his 12th blog entry.


Following our win over Wright state, we had finally reached the last week of the regular season. On our plate last week was NIU for the Lewang Trophy and nationally-ranked Michigan State.

Knowing we had qualified for the conference tournament definitely put our minds at ease and we started the week off with some much needed recuperation and refocusing.

Heading into the NIU game, we knew that it was much needed that we rest some regular starters in preparation for our conference quarterfinal game the upcoming Tuesday. Unfortunately, similarly to the UW game, we seemed to lack a little bit of focus going into the match. I’m not sure if it was that we were already looking forward to the Horizon League tournament or if it was just one of those nights, but we fell behind quickly Thursday night. Luckily, Cody Banks was on hand to help level the scores midway through the second half, outworking his defender to latch on to Andrew Wiedabach’s through-ball and delicately chip the defender with his left foot for his second goal of the season. Much to our dismay, we fell behind yet again right before half time as the Huskies scored on a direct free-kick from the top of the box.

Although we had been playing well, once again we were behind due to silly defensive mistakes. Unfortunately, this time we didn’t have the great second half we’re used to. It just all fell apart and we ended up losing the game by a lopsided score despite playing some decent soccer at times. Our lack of defensive sharpness and clinical finishing was once again our downfall.

Luckily for us, Saturday was a quick turnaround and we had a top-level opponent to play against. The Spartans of Michigan State had been ranked in the top 10 of the country for most of the year and we knew we were in for a tough challenge. We held tough for the first 40 minutes or so before we went behind 1-0 on yet another set piece goal.

However, this time we didn’t implode and came out in the second half with a renewed vigor and really took the game to MSU. Despite completely dominating the second half, it looked as though we were about to finish our regular season on a sour note. We just couldn’t seem to find the back of the net, until a nice combination of flicks from Tony Maxey and Abe Gibbons found Greg Rosenthal at the far post. Finally, Rosie dispatched the ball into the back of the net with an acrobatic finish, pushing the match into extra time.

You could tell Michigan State was really on their heels and we continued to surge forward in the extra periods. Despite a number of chances, the winning goal eluded us on the day and we finished with a draw.

Later Saturday night, we discovered our fate for Tuesday night’s match. We will be taking on the Loyola Ramblers, at Loyola, kicking off at 7 p.m. On paper it’s a great draw for us, as we’ve already won there before this season, but anything can happen in the conference tournament.

If you have the night off and are looking for something to do, make the reasonable trek down to Chicago and cheer us on in our aim to head to Butler for the conference semifinals and finals.

Today, I just want to go ahead and give some much needed mention to my fellow seniors for going through the roller coaster of a career with me. Although there was only four of us mentioned on Senior Day, my opinion of the senior class includes those who came in with me my freshman year too. This includes Pedro Mejia, Robert Refai, Abe Gibbons, Greg Rosenthal, Aaron Gibbons and then more recently Sol Caceres.

I remember when I first committed to UWM; I was talking to my dad about his experience in college athletics. He told me that by the time my senior season rolled around only a handful at best of my incoming recruiting class would remain. He explained the numerous reasons for why people drop-off along the way: coaching changes, homesickness, academic struggles, the super competitive environment, drinking/drug trouble and more. Even though I could understand all of that, I couldn’t believe that somebody would allow any of that result in throwing away his or her chance at a four-year career.

Soon enough he was proved right though. People had dropped off before our freshman season even began and by the end of freshman year, nearly half of our freshman class was gone. That’s not to say I wasn’t tempted to do the same however. I had never imagined losing the will to show up at practice and to fight for our school out on the field, but slowly but surely it began to happen. The every day grind was starting to take it’s toll, along with a couple of disheartening losing seasons, increasing school load, and a growing contagious case of player discontent.

By the time I found out a shot at a fresh start was in front of me, there was still a doubt of whether I thought it was really worth it to come back for another year. However, the aforementioned senior class was a big reason why I decided to stick it out for another year. When you’re in the trenches with somebody day after day, not only do you become pretty close with people, but you also begin to feel a sense of responsibility with them; a responsibility to show up every day and put in the hard work, because they’re doing the exact same thing for you.

So in the end, not only was I coming back for my final season for me, but also for the rest of the guys that I had spent so much time working towards the same goals with. I honestly wouldn’t have made it through this four years without them, so my full-hearted thanks goes out to Abe, Aaron, Dro, Robert, Rosie and Sol for making the journey with me.

Joga Bonito

Monday, November 1, 2010

November Already?!?

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his 11th blog entry.


Following defeat to UIC, we headed into this week with a midweek rivalry game and a must-win conference battle on Saturday night. There wasn’t much time to get working on things between games and it was more of a battle to get recovered and refreshed in time for the next game.

Heading into our game against UW, we knew that once again we’d have to rest some key players. Tony Maxey was rested due to injury and starting forward and leading point getter, Andrew Wiedabach, was left off the game roster. We headed into Madison Wednesday afternoon and by the time the game rolled around it was completely dark, dropping to frigid temperatures, all topped off by some of the strongest winds since I’ve been at UWM.

We started the game poorly and fell victim to two quick-fire counterattack goals as a result of careless turnovers in the midfield. The second half brought about a more spirited performance, but we left Madison knowing we missed a great chance to improve our record and restore some in-state dominance over the Badgers.

Following a silent bus ride back, we spent a little time in the locker room regrouping and refocusing on what’s rest of the season. Wright State became the sole focus for us and everybody knew that we had to win in order to confidently clinch a spot in the conference tournament following regular season play. For the returning players, we felt there was definitely some unfinished business with Wright State after playing to only a draw there last fall. We decided to start the game pressing them high up on the field Saturday night to make sure we came out and started the game well and the match couldn’t have started better for us. We were ahead 1-0 in a record time of around 1 minute and 16 seconds through some smooth interplay from Cody Banks and Andrew, leading to a find 1 v. 1 finish against the goalkeeper from Jordan Record.

We dominated the rest of the half and had some good chances to bury the game, but went into the locker room at 1-0 at half time. Unfortunately, it seemed as if though we let our foot off the gas in the second half and we were forced to grind out the rest of the game. However, when the final whistle blew, the scoreboard read 1-0 for Milwaukee and a win is a win. By the time we regrouped in the locker room, we found out we had punched our ticket into the postseason and were able to celebrate Halloween feeling at ease with our immediate future.

I personally spent my Halloween night out with some of the guys on the team and my girlfriend and I thought I’d attach a picture of myself and some of the guys in their respective outfits.

This week my thanks goes to all the Super Fans that come to all the games and get behind our team and heckle our opponents. This group, led by Jimmy Lemke, has been a mainstay at all home games and also a lot of away games throughout my career and their support goes largely unmentioned. It takes a lot to convince yourself to get bundled up on a Saturday night and bypass parties and local bars to come support your school’s team, but for us players it really gives us an added motivation.

Knowing that your student body is behind you is a huge confidence boost and it felt great to clinch our conference tournament berth in front of them. Thanks again and hopefully we’ll be able to get a conference tournament game at home sometime soon.

Joga Bonito

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Closing Out October

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his 10th blog entry.


Last Saturday night’s win over Loyola was a great win, but following a day off on Sunday, we had a quick turnaround for a midweek game at Oakland in Michigan on Wednesday afternoon. Our team had suffered a couple knocks, so myself and Tony Maxey were unavailable to travel, plus a lot of other players traveling were definitely struggling a bit going into the match. No matter how much work you put into your fitness and physical well being during the season, once October rolls around, the injuries tend to start mounting up. The college soccer season isn’t necessarily very long, but it’s a lot of games, backed into a short bit of time.

Thankfully, we were able to grab an early lead and boss the game, allowing some players to get some much needed rest during the match and pulled out a 2-0 result against a tough non-conference team. Despite not being there to see it, Andrew Wiedabach was the man of the match setting up our first goal to Rexy (Jordan Record) and personally supplying the insurance goal later in the game. Also, John Shakon provided some fine goalkeeping; coming up with a lot of crucial interventions which prevented a shift in the tides during the match.

Once again, Saturday was another quick turnaround. UIC has been a quality opponent that we just haven’t been able to beat since I’ve been here at UWM. They’re a side predicated on keeping possession and sitting deep behind the ball when defending. We felt pretty confident going into the game though, on the heels of a two-game winning streak. Personally, I was excited for us to get back on our home field and excited about getting back from injury. No matter how hard the work is in practice, it’s always worth it in the end when you get to play the games and there’s nothing worse than having to sit out.

The game started somewhat slowly as both teams seemed to be undergoing a bit of a feeling out process of one another. We had a couple half-chances, but went into half-time level at 0-0. Once again, we talked about how we just knew it was a matter of raising our own level and working harder to get the job done. We spent the entire second half taking the game to them. We dominated the possession, shots, shots on goal, and corners, but just couldn’t find the game winner.

Before we knew it, 90 minutes was up and overtime was beckoning. Having just won our last conference game in overtime, it was just a matter of converting one chance to put it away and clinch a berth in the conference tournament. Unfortunately, we squandered a couple golden chances and were left made to pay as our back-line dropped too far off of their striker and he converted a bending shot to win the game off of the near post.

For not the first time, we were left to look back on a game knowing we thoroughly outplayed our opponents, but dropped the result. Perhaps we’re still lacking a bit of that winning mentality. It always seems like there’s so little that divides teams in sports, but that little bit that separates the losers from the winners proves to be paramount in the end. We’ve come a long way since the 0-8 start my freshman year, but change always takes time.

Unfortunately, for myself and the other seniors, we’re rapidly running out of that. The biggest positive for us is that there are still games to play. We get another chance at in-state rivals UW-Madison on Wednesday followed by a HUGE last conference match-up against Wright State. Luckily, we’ll be playing at home and they’ll be forced to travel all the way from Ohio to play us.

So if I could please just ask one favor of the fans: please come out this upcoming Saturday night, October 30th, to support us against the Raiders of Wright State at 7 p.m. on Engelmann Field.

This week, I want to thank not only our athletic training staff, headed by John Ochsenwald, but also PT Calvin Deutsch for helping me get back and playing so quickly. It really took a cooperative effort to get me back playing so fast from my ankle injury and if Calvin hadn’t taken time out of his busy schedule to help me out, there’s no way I would’ve been on the field against UIC. For an aspiring physical therapist and an obsessed soccer fan, I couldn’t have asked for a better person to be helping me out. Just for kicks, I’m attaching a couple of pictures of what super swollen sprained ankle looks like.

The first one is of it just looking fat as can be and the other is after compressing it for a couple of hours with a horse-shoe shaped pad to attempt to push some of the swelling out of that area. Well, not to let Ashy down, until next week’s post…

Joga Bonito

P.S. Ashy-how does it feel to finally win, yet still be mired in the relegation zone? ALLEZ ARSENAL!!!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Overtime Again?!?

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his ninth blog entry.


Following the gut-wrenching loss to Green Bay, when Monday rolled around we knew it was time to brush ourselves off and get back to work. A good week of practice followed and we went into Saturday night’s match against Loyola feeling confident about getting back to a .500 record in Horizon League play.

The game started slow for us again, which unfortunately seems to be becoming a habit of ours. However, we got into halftime level at 0-0 and knew that we could make amends in the second half. As Coach Shepherd put it, “a couple weeks from now, nobody’s going to remember the bad first 45 minutes once we win the game in the second half.”

Starting the half with that attitude, we began to take the game to the Ramblers. Although we didn’t get a goal in regular time, we felt that we were really knocking on the door going into extra time. Finally with only about a minutes time to spare, freshman Riley Weiner used some intelligent skill on the ball to jink his way past a couple defenders at the top of the box and slotted the ball far-post and into the back of the net.

Our bench exploded onto the field in a similar fashion as we did after Robbie Boyd’s winner at Valpo earlier in the season. Personally, I fell off the bench as I kind of forgot about the fact that I was icing an injured ankle at the time, but the pain and embarrassment was worth it when getting to celebrate with the rest of the team on their field.

Once again we proved to not only ourselves but the rest of the league that in any given game, against any given team, we’re definitely a squad to be reckoned with and that the goal can come from anywhere. Furthermore, we have two conference home games to look forward to in our attempt to break into the upper echelon of the league. We’ll hope to carry this momentum forward when we face Oakland in a tough non-conference match-up on Wednesday and then UIC at home on Saturday night.

This week I just want to thank the traveling fans that have made our seemingly never-ending road games a lot easier. But in particular, I want to thank one fan who made it down this weekend that’s been not only one of the soccer team’s biggest fans, but a fan of all of the sports here at UWM: Michael Poll. If you don’t know Mike, you’re really missing out. He’s a ubiquitous presence on campus and his unwavering support towards all athletes at UWM is a huge lift. He’s one of the loudest fans at games, which really boosts your morale when you’re playing in the game.

So whether he’s shooting hoops at the Klotchke, wooing some ladies around campus, or coming into the locker room to give us the latest run-down on his latest travels of the day, Michael never fails to put a smile on your face and is truly the best 12th man we could ever have. Cheers Mike! Until next week,

Joga Bonito

Monday, October 11, 2010

The New Home Field is Ready

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his eighth blog entry.


Upon arriving back from Cleveland State, a sweet reward was waiting for us; a newly finished Engelmann Field. That meant we could spend our entire week practicing on campus for the first time since I’ve been at UWM. It was a great way to start preparing for one of the biggest games of the season against Green Bay.

Throughout the week we got a good chance to get a feel for the new turf field and it really is the best artificial surface I’ve ever played on. I was never a big fan of turf and was really disappointed when I first found out that Engelmann would be undergoing the switch, but I’m slowly warming up to it now.

I think a big part of that has to do with the fact that UWM went out and found the best possible surface for us to get, leaving us with a FIFA approved field, the only one of it’s kind in all of North America. Not only will this provide us with a more convenient practice location, but it will also allow us to increase the amount of playing on our home field, allow for less maintenance costs, allow us to schedule classes closer to training times, increase campus awareness of the team and even allow us to use it as a recruiting tool when showing it to potential incoming recruits. All in all, the field looks great, plays great and is definitely a positive addition to UWM Soccer.

However, that wasn’t the only exciting new development for the soccer program this week. We underwent some human performance tests this week measuring our heart rate, oxygen consumption, lactate levels, etc., and will begin to start wearing heart rate monitors during training this fall. Why is this exciting or important you might ask? Well, now during practice our coaches can have an idea of how hard they’re pushing us and whether we need to scale our practices down, increase the intensity, or continue as we are. The human body is an amazing thing and to be able to have the opportunity to use such advanced equipment will definitely only benefit our team.

Going into Saturday’s game we spent a lot of time at practice focusing on keeping our tempo high on offense and moving the ball a lot all around the field when in possession. Against Cleveland State we had a lot of success when we limited our touches and worked the ball around, ultimately tiring them out, allowing us to score the game winner in overtime. Furthermore, we knew Green Bay was a quality side, possessing a true match-winner in the form of All-American JC Banks.

We went into the game knowing that if we played our game well, we could get a positive result, so we were really confident going into our first home game Saturday night. Saturday was a beautiful day and come 7 p.m., there was a huge crowd, clear skies and an overall electric atmosphere.

We started the game with a lot of desire, but spent the majority of the first half playing far too direct and found ourselves heading into the locker room down 1-0 off of a goal from JC following a corner. We didn’t stay with our marks and really only had ourselves to blame. We weren’t ready to throw in the towel however, and after a productive half-time talk, we came out playing our soccer in the second half.

Much more passing and movement on the ball resulted in a much-deserved equalizer not too long into the half. I was able to cut inside of my defender on the left side, slide in a cross to Andrew Wiedabach, who flicked it on for Cody Banks to stab home from the six-yard box. It was a great goal and we really started to feel the momentum turn for us. Unfortunately, late in the second half, we were reduced to ten men. Freshman defender James Ashcroft was ruled to have taken down JC Banks as the last defender and shown a red card for his offense. It looked to me like minimal contact, but JC went down leaving the ref with a game-changing decision to make.

Much to our dismay, he went straight into his pocket for the red and we found ourselves at a numerical disadvantage. We made it to overtime at 1-1 and decided we weren’t going to let the numbers game hold us back and vowed to continue attacking when possible, because we knew only a win would get us the Chancellor's Cup back. We created the most dangerous of the chances in overtime, but a mistake in the back allowed JC to slip in his second goal of the match, ending the game in the second overtime.

It was a tough result to handle, as we had put so much into the game, dominated the second half, and then lost in front of our home crowd, on a play we could have prevented. It just goes to show that you have to be mentally switched on to play a full 90, and sometimes 110 minutes if you’re going to succeed at this level. It’s something we’re still working on and will continue to do for the rest of the season.

Fortunately, now we have a week to recover and regroup before heading to Loyola this Saturday night with a chance to get back in the win column.

For this week, I want to make sure to thank all of those supporting us in the Athletic Department at UWM. This includes Kathy Litzau, Tom Vollman, Kevin Fitzgerald, Chris Zills, as well as former Athletic Director George Koonce and the many more that I might be forgetting to mention. The first three years here for me was a bit of a mess at times, but when the Athletic Department stepped in and brought us an excellent new coaching staff and a brand new state of the art field, it really showed us players their commitment to making UWM Men’s soccer something that we’d be proud to be a part of. I know that the program is only going to continue to improve from now on and I just wanted to make sure to thank all of those who have and continue to play a huge part in that.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A Return to Engelmann Awaits...

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his seventh blog entry.


Our second week of Horizon League play brought the dreaded bus rides from Milwaukee to Detroit, Detroit to Cleveland and then from Cleveland back to Milwaukee. They were two winnable conference games to elevate our status in the league. Following our loss to Butler, we talked about needing to cut out needless mistakes in the back and provide more clinical finishing up front. Training was pretty good throughout the week and we left Milwaukee on Thursday afternoon feeling confident about our chances of collecting six points from the weekend.

If you’ve never been to Detroit, let me save you the trip and let you know right now it’s nothing to write home about. Hit hard by the recession, there were tons of empty buildings without businesses to fill them. At one point Rosie counted a liquor store on 10 straight blocks. Going into the match we knew Detroit was a hard working team who looked to make up for a lack of talent with an abundance of fight. The game started flat from both teams and another costly mistake in the back saw us head into half time 1-0 down.

The coaching staff obviously wasn’t pleased and we headed into the second half with 45 minutes to rescue the game. Unfortunately, about 10 minutes into the second half we found ourselves down 2-0 and in a bit of disbelief. Finally, the fight kicked in and we started playing like the team we are. We pulled a goal back via Tony Maxey’s fine header off of a nicely struck free kick from Ross. However, it was too little too late. We couldn’t find an equalizer despite a couple of great chances and could only blame ourselves when the final whistle blew.

The type of urgency we showed towards the end of the game is the type of energy we need to bring at the beginning of the games, not just when falling behind a goal or two. The only positive was that we knew we had another game just two days later to make amends for such a poor showing. We hopped on the bus and headed to Cleveland.

Saturday was spent recovering and focusing on what we needed to do better. A pool workout in the morning was followed by some tactics talk in the meeting room of the hotel. We didn’t focus too much on what Cleveland State would be bringing on Sunday, because we knew that as long as we do what we do well, the rest would take care of itself.

Following dinner that night, we went as a team to see the film The Social Network. Being an admittedly avid facebook user myself, it was a pretty interesting movie and a good alternative to spending the night sitting in our hotel rooms watching bad television.

On Sunday we packed up all of our stuff and got on the bus for our game against CSU. A much better start by us had CSU on the defensive from the beginning. We spent almost the entire first half in their end and it felt like it was only a matter of time before we scored. The Vikings provided a couple of scares on some counter attacks, but we were definitely in the driver’s seat. The second half was more of the same.

I remember specifically a 15-minute period, or so, where it’s hard to remember our opponents possessing the ball at all. Yet we still couldn’t find a goal, so we headed back towards our respective benches after 90 minutes squared at 0-0. In the first period of overtime, Andrew turned his defender nicely and got down the end line, pulling back the ball to Jordan Record, only for him to send his shot just high. We believed, though, and went into the second overtime just as confident about scoring the game-winning goal.

Finally we reaped our reward for our dominance in the game when Ross chipped a ball across the box to me and I squared it for Rexy (Jordan Record) to tap-in for the victory. Knowing that we ended their 17 game home-unbeaten streak made it all that much sweeter. Although we only came away with three of the six possible points for the weekend, it was a good way to end the weekend and definitely made the long ride home more bearable.

Sitting at 3-5-2 (2-2-0 in conference) might not be what we were aiming for, but if you consider that we have yet to play a real home game this season, it’s not all bad. We’ve already equaled our wins total from last season, so now it’s all about continuing to show how far we’ve come from last year. We’ll be looking to continue doing so come next Saturday, October 9. We take on UW-Green Bay at 7 p.m. at the newly-redone Engelmann field for our real home opener. We’ll be counting on a lot of fans to come out and support us as we look to start a little momentum within the Horizon League.

This week my thank you is for our Athletic Trainer John Ochsenwald. Not only has he provided me with tons of assistance via treatment, but also he’s been the one constant positive staff member throughout my career at UWM. Every season is a grind physically, but the mental and emotional tax can be the greatest. Having a staff member who constantly has your best interests in mind can make all the difference. The training room is somewhat of a safe haven at Engelmann, where you can go to get away from the stress and enjoy a laugh with John and fellow players. I can honestly say that if it weren’t for his positive influence, myself and the other seniors probably would not have made it through the past three years. Thus, whether it’s joking around with him in the back of the bus on a long road trip or trying to figure out the best way to get you back on the field after an injury, either way you know he’s got your back. So here’s to you “Ox”!

Until next time,

Joga Bonito

Monday, September 27, 2010

League Play Begins...

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his sixth blog entry.


Riding the momentum of our encouraging tie against San Diego State, we went into training feeling confident, but still with much to prove. Don’t get me wrong, it was great to pull of a tie against a top-quality team, but winning is the motivation behind all the hard work we put in. We know we can play quality, attractive soccer with the best of them, but there comes a point where everyone needs to see results, which is exactly what was on the agenda for us at Valparaiso Friday night.

The start of conference play is similar to starting a new season. There’s a renewed buzz of excitement overtaking the teams as you’ve followed other conference teams results so far, but now there’s finally a chance to get a look first hand. Going into the game on Friday, Valpo was undefeated and had only conceded one goal in six games. Instead of fearing their regional ranking, we knew it was a golden opportunity to get off on the right foot in Horizon League play.

We started the game with a long spell of possession and within the first 10 minutes we were ahead 1-0 courtesy of a teasing delivery from Ross van Osdol from a set piece, finished superbly by Greg Rosenthal via his head. Our confidence was high and we all felt Valpo was probably considering themselves lucky to hear the half-time whistle with the scoreboard at only 1-0. About 13 minutes into the second half however, Valpo struck back. A through ball caught us exposed at the back and Bryce Boyd had no chance but to take their striker out in the area on a breakaway. The Crusaders tied it up 1-1 on the resulting penalty kick and the real battle began.

From then on was a perfect example of a typical conference game. End to end soccer, which was only intensified with some fireworks going off in the near distance. We ended regulation at 1-1, but all believed we’d be grabbing our first conference ‘W’ in the overtime. Robbie Boyd was the man to deliver some fireworks of his own towards the end of the first overtime. A great ball from Ryan Whitehead found him in the corner, with two defenders closing in. He somehow turned the corner and despite my pleas with him from the sideline to go down, he carried a defender on his back for a couple yards before blasting a left footed shot below last year's Conference Goalkeeper of the year. Our sideline exploded, with Coach Shepherd leading the charge, nothing felt better than celebrating our first conference win, on their field, especially following some unfortunate events that unfolded last year at the same location in the conference tournament.

Saturday brought a recovery day and more English Premier League action. Unfortunately, Arsenal chose to turn in an uninspired performance resulting in a home loss to West Brom. Without Cesc Fabregas, they looked a bit lost and lacking leadership and focus on the field against a lesser opponent. Time will tell if it will prove costly, but this is the type of game Champions win, especially considering Chelsea’s shock loss to Man City earlier that morning. Thankfully, Man United also drew, keeping Arsenal near the top of the table with a lot of football left to be played.

Butler came to town on Sunday, boasting an undefeated record and a national ranking of No. 17. We played at nearby Concordia, due to Engelmann’s lack of a finished playing surface. It wasn’t an ideal first home game, but it was nice to travel to a field within half an hour van ride.

We started the game a little bit slow, but ended the first half feeling the dominant of the two sides. Andrew had a brilliant chipped goal called back due to a dubious offside call and Butler’s opportunities were few and far between. They seemed content to settle for long throws and corner kicks, while we were trying to get the ball down and play. Early in the second half we paid the price for not having put away any of our chances in the first 45 minutes and coming out flat after half time. A set piece was the result of their first goal and a penalty kick provided their insurance goal. We spent the remaining 25 minutes of the half chasing the game, but in the end we just couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.

It was a frustrating way to end the weekend, but sometimes that’s just the way it goes. We left the game knowing we can play with and beat them, yet there’s plenty reasons why they’ve started the season so well. We still need to be more ruthless in front of the goal and translate our dominating possession and play into more goals and wins. All in all, it was still an acceptable start to conference play and we’ll be headed into our road trip to Detroit and Cleveland State next weekend with two wins on our mind.

For this weeks shout-out, I’d like to give a big thanks to all of you who made it out to our game Sunday and those who made the trek down to Valley Fields for our game against Marquette on September 1st. Although neither have been real home games, all of the fans who have come out to support us have made it feel like it. Although I spend the majority of the game tuned out from the crowd, there’s something special about when it’s late in the game and you’re chasing after a 50/50 ball with your opponent and you can hear your fans cheering your name. I really hope that what we do on the field can continue to warrant such support from you and that you’ll all feel implored to continue to come out and cheer us on. Engelmann Field should be done and ready come October 9th when we take on UW-Green Bay for the Chancellor’s Cup at our real home opener and we’re hoping for another electric atmosphere come kickoff. Until next time,

Joga Bonito

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Home Sweet Home...

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his fifth blog entry.


Following our trip to the East Coast, we knew were still in for a rough couple of games as we hit the road again to IPFW, Madison and then Valpo before getting a home game. Things didn’t exactly get going on the right foot at IPFW and we lost a game to a team we should have been able to play off the pitch. It was a physical, ugly game and a towering header from their center forward proved the difference in the match.

The one pro of the trip was to see a familiar face in Fort Wayne. A fellow senior from my incoming class at UWM, Raphy Martinez, now plays there and despite the loss and him not being able to play because of injury, it was good to see an old friend.

We immediately put the game behind us and started focusing on what was ahead: Madison’s tournament. Madison’s tournament has brought mixed results for us in the past, but what we knew for certain was there would be two quality opponents waiting for us. Friday’s match against Dayton was one of those games where you’re doing everything right, but you just can’t quite get a finished product. We started the game on our front foot and really had the Flyers pinned back for the opening 20 minutes, but one costly defensive error accounted for another goal against and we found ourselves behind again. We knew it was an uphill battle from there, but we continued to play our brand of soccer and felt like we were knocking on the door before an unfortunate drop of the ball gifted Dayton the insurance goal they were looking for. For the rest of the game we attacked and attacked, but the final ball just wasn’t there. Our service was not good enough or when it was, the finishing wasn’t there to match it. The game ended at 2-0 and with a sour tastes in our mouths once again.

Saturday was all about recovering and refocusing. We went to the Union for some bowling to take our minds off the rough stretch we were enduring. It was a good way to relax and have some fun again. Andrew Wiedabach was the bowler of the day, bowling something like six strikes in a row at one point. He finished somewhere in the 200’s, but I have to make sure you all know I was a close 2nd-coming in at 187. I’ve attached a picture, but my phone’s camera doesn’t really do it justice.

Sunday was all about just going out and enjoying ourselves on the field. We talked about how we know we’re a talented team and that even the best teams go through ebbs and flows during seasons, it’s just about believing in what you’re doing out on the field. San Diego State came into the game receiving votes in the national polls and figured to be the best team we’ve played so far this season. Once again however, we started quick. Yet this time our fast start came with reward; not long into the game we found ourselves up 1-0 off of some slick wing interplay between Cody and Rosie, leading to a cross and class finish by Weedy. SDSU is a tough team though and we knew they’d have a rebuttal. Unfortunately, we conceded off of a corner in the dying minutes of the first half to even things up.

Still, as the game progressed we continued to believe and it seemed as if though it had finally paid off when we were awarded a penalty kick in the second overtime after Weedy was fouled in the box. The build-up to the play was perfect soccer; intricate, penetrating passing, leaving the keeper no choice but to take Andrew down in the penalty area. Much to our dismay, the crossbar denied Cody’s penalty and we were left with a draw at the final whistle.

It’s frustrating, because I thought their keeper should have been sent-off and you never know what would have happened had another keeper had to come in cold from the bench for that shot. Their keeper was the last man back and he fouled Andrew, denying a goal-scoring opportunity, which in the laws of the game calls for a red card ... but hey, that’s officiating for you, right? You love it when a ref makes a mistake for you and hate them when they get something wrong. All in all, it was an encouraging weekend for us. We put an end to a losing streak and have started to produce the best soccer yet this season.

This week brings the start of the conference season for us and we’re chomping at the bit to get after it. Friday is all about unfinished business in Valpo; followed by a chance to give Butler it’s first loss of the season. The slates are wiped clean and we have a real chance at making some noise.

This week I just want to take a moment to thank the Sweeney family. They were the people to introduce me to competitive soccer and provided me with countless rides along the way. A great family and great soccer people, thanks John-O, Barb, Danny, Mikes, Thomas, and of course Maggie. Until next time…

Joga Bonito

Monday, September 13, 2010

Back to Business...

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his fourth blog entry.


From the beaches on the East Coast, we headed back to classrooms on the East Side. A week off of games gave us plenty of time to recover and prepare for the upcoming week of action. In the classroom, it was a bit of a wake-up call as professors doled out the first homework assignments. Personally, I’m still struggling to remember my schedule and find my self constantly pulling out my laptop to check where I need to be and when.

It was a good week of practice though. We got a chance to talk over what went right and wrong during the weekend and trained accordingly. This week called for a heavy dose of crossing and finishing drills and some conditioning. For me, there’s nothing better. As a winger, it’s what I do every game, so the opportunity to fine-tune my game is always a plus.

On Friday night, a lot of us players got to head to Pantherfest for the first time. Since I’ve been at UWM, we always missed it due to having games, so it was a pretty cool experience. The Marcus Amphitheater was packed and the performances were pretty cool. I’m not a huge fan of the type of music that went down in the first act, but seeing Kid Cudi perform was sweet. I saw him at the Rave last winter and he did a lot of music off his new album, so that was a good change of pace.

The one good part about school starting is that it’s soccer season in Europe as well. So on Saturday’s, I spend about as much time as the typical American spends watching college football watching soccer games played in England’s Premier League and Italy’s Serie A. Thankfully Fox Soccer Channel was broadcasting Arsenal’s game this week, so I got a chance to watch my favorite club simply outclass Bolton Wanderers in a 4-1 thrashing. They’re only two points off of the leaders Chelsea, so this season looks promising. Something that made me even happier was to watch the other so called title contenders: Man United, Tottenham and Man City, all tie. Every season everybody says that Arsenal will be the team knocked out of the "Big 4" because they don’t spend a lot of money, but it just goes to show you that money doesn’t always buy success.

Going into this next week of games, I’m feeling pretty good about our chances. Tuesday will give us a good chance to test ourselves on the road again against IPFW and the Madison Tournament is always a good acid test for where your team stands going into conference play. Hopefully we’ll come away with three wins this week and be going into Horizon League play on a high. Furthermore, they got a new layer down on the turf field this past week at Engelmann, so hopefully come September 26 we’ll have a brand new field to play on in front of all our fans against defending regular-season champs Butler.

To finish this entry off, I’ve decided to start throwing in some thank you’s to the people who’ve helped me get to where I am today, whether they read this or not. Tonight I just want to give a shout-out to a lot of former Panthers who helped me make it through some of the tougher times. So a big-ups goes to Kenny Ogorzalek, Elliott Dunn, Calvin Mai, Van Hong, Evan Bartzis and Sam Alexander. With the amount of time you spend with your team, it’s not hard to believe that some of your teammates become your better friends, so here’s to those of mine who’ve since graduated or moved on to other schools. Until next week,

Joga Bonito

Monday, September 6, 2010

On to the East Coast...

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his third blog entry.


Giving up your social life, pushing through that last set of sprints, fighting through injuries and overall body pain ... it’s all worth it when you win. And since I’ve been at UWM, I’ve never enjoyed a win quite like our dominant 4-2 win over Marquette last Wednesday.

It was a perfect night to play; it was as if the rain gods knew we had an important game to play as the stormy weather we had been experiencing transformed into a beautiful evening. Just warming up you could feel the heightened atmosphere from our other exhibition games so far. Not only was this our regular season opener, but also it was against our cross-town rivals; fighting for the bragging rights of Milwaukee.

We started the game well and it felt like it was only a matter of time until we scored. We just kept throwing attack after attack at Marquette as they resorted to booting hopeful long balls to their center forwards. Finally a fine passing combination from Robert Jarosz and Cody Banks slotted Andrew Wiedabach through into the box. He brushed off the center back and made no mistake with a clinical left-footed finish at the keepers near post. Our players exploded, it felt as if there was no way we could lose. Even though we made a silly mistake at the end of the first half, allowing Marquette an equalizer, it never felt as if the game was out of our hands. We survived a bit of a scare with a Marquette shot off the post, but a moment of brilliance from Ross Van Osdol put us back on top. After receiving the ball just inside of midfield, he surveyed his options and saw nobody was on him, took a touch and let fly from about 30 yards out, putting it in off the upright.

The Marquette fans who had finally come to life following their tying goal in the first half were stunned silent. Two late goals from Edison Crespo were just the icing on the cake as he showed composure beyond his years to land us the Milwaukee Cup. As the final whistle blew, I can’t even describe the emotions that went through me. I just wanted to soak it all in. I’ve been here, putting so much work in with the other seniors since our freshman year, yet we had never won like this. I was overjoyed, yet on the verge of tears at the same time. In front of my city, it finally went like it was supposed to; Milwaukee was the best team in town.

Waking up on Thursday morning was pretty brutal. Class started for the semester and it really hit me by surprise. For so long, all we had been doing was soccer-related and now the school year began. We had a light practice, mostly focused on getting our bodies recovered. We knew we had to start looking forward to the weekend.

Friday morning we all gathered at Engelmann at 5:30 a.m. to catch an early flight out to New Hampshire. We lucked out as Hurricane Earl decided to hold off until after we landed in Boston. An hour drive to New Hampshire awaited us and all I could think about was getting into our hotel beds when we finally arrived at our Hampton Inn. Following a much-needed nap, we drove a couple minutes to the University of New Hampshire to get in a light practice on their game field. What awaited us there was quite a surprise; a very odd turf field. It was really spongy, short, and had faint dark blue lines for soccer.

Saturday, during the day, we went as a team to go mini-golfing. It was a great time and a good way to get loose and relaxed before our first game vs. University of New Hampshire. All of my memories of mini-golf as a kid involved a lot of fighting and ended in tears with my family. I grew up in a pretty competitive family where we fought to the death over everything, whether it was the first one into the car or who could drink their milk the fastest. Saturday night was our first game and it was definitely a battle. UNH was a very physical team, similar to Marquette, but probably better at it. They put us under pressure every time we had the ball and it took us awhile to get going. Eventually we fashioned some pretty good chances, but in the end we tied 0-0.

Sunday was a recovery day and we went pretty light at training. We also took a trip to the beach, which was a fun change of pace and went out to eat for a good dinner. Monday morning we woke up early and took on Vermont in our final game of the tournament. It was another hard-fought battle and we went down early due to some mental errors. However, Weedy got us back into it with an awesome goal and we had the run of play for most of the first half. Eventually we went to overtime and lost on another set piece. It was definitely disappointing, but during the season you have to move on and start getting ready for the next game. So that’s what we’ll do, we’ll get back to Milwaukee and start gearing up for IPFW a week from this Wednesday. Until next time,

Joga Bonito

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Game Day is Here!

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his second blog entry.


As we creep closer and closer to September 1st, the anticipation is definitely growing. Since my last post, we started Coaches Preseason and the three-a-days have now come and gone. Having only done two-a-days in the past, this preseason has really been a full emersion of soccer.

Each morning begins with the alarm going off and wondering where the night went. Following that, you crawl out of bed and make your way over to Engelmann, where the coaches have provided us with some light breakfast food to get you through the morning session. The potential treatment session with our head trainer John Ochsenwald is thrown in there too before you even get underway with any soccer. A short jog over to Shorewood High School around 9:30am gets your legs warmed and we usually the next hour and a half is spent refining the technical aspects to our game. Crossing, finishing, passing, dribbling; all areas are covered. Next, lunch is delivered to the locker room from either Qdoba, Noodles or Jimmy Johns is usually on tap to refuel our bodies with some much needed energy. I usually spend the next hour off passed out on the couch in the locker room, only to wake up for the afternoon session at 2:00pm. I look forward to the afternoon sessions though, because the majority of it is pure playing soccer. From small-sided to full field 11v11 games, the quality of play is improving daily and it really gets me excited to get our season going. Following the completion of the afternoon session, we usually take a ride over to local Downer restaurant VIA for some delicious pasta and pizza. With an evening fitness session looming, it’s always tough to know when to cut yourself off at the dinner table. The wait for the 8:00 p.m. fitness session is pretty painful, you don’t know exactly what’s coming, but you know it’s going to be painful. Upon completing the final team activity of the night, you just about have enough energy to crawl back to your apartment, house, dorm, etc., to crash for the night until you start it all back up again the next morning…

Tonight finally brings our first real opportunity to showcase all of the hard work we’ve been putting in since the beginning of August. Convincing wins over the Alumni and Whitewater were steps in the right direction, but the hunger to test ourselves against another fit, well prepared, Division I team is at an all-time high.

Marquette is one of the biggest names on the schedule every year, as we prepare to do battle for the Milwaukee Cup. Unfortunately, this season we’ll be playing away for the second year in a row, but hoisting the cup on their field will make the victory that much sweeter. Thus, I implore any of you who read this to make your way down to Valley Fields for a 7:05 p.m. kick-off to the 2010 season for the UWM Men’s soccer team.

Joga Bonito

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Preseason is here...

Peter Sanger, a senior on the 2010 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his first blog entry.


As August approached, I knew what was looming just around the corner. August is the month of sweat, pain, fatigue and grit. Together, all of us players make the trek back to UWM after enjoying summers of beaches, free time and carefree living. Yet our social lives are now over, the next month will be spent either drenched in sweat and breathing heavy on the field or resting and recuperating between practices.

Going into my senior year, I have to admit that I might miss a very tiny portion of pre-season, but the majority of me will be glad to be done with it. For a week before we start with the coaches, two–a-days begin as player’s preseason commences. Morning sessions of pure playing soccer, followed by dreaded evenings of pounding pavement on runs.

The purpose of player’s preseason is to increase fitness, build team camaraderie and start playing together. Everyone wants to be sharp when we start with the coaches, so intensity is always high. This year we’re lucky enough to have a quality pitch to play on near campus at Shorewood High School, so the mornings are much easier than I remember freshmen, sophomore and junior year. I still remember showing up as a freshmen and having to run miles just to get to a horrendous field that we could get kicked off of at any moment by a team that had reserved it ahead of time. Playing on the turf of Shorewood, where we know the field’s schedule is a breath of fresh air.

No bad bounces to blame for a bad touch or rolled ankles are just a few of the perks of playing on a flat surface. Furthermore, our quality of play is immediately much higher due to the turf. The fitness sessions are still a leg killer though. Whether it’s running to St. Mary’s Hill to do sprints up the stairs and hill, running back to back to back to back to back 6-minute miles around the track, or doing sprint relays on Bradford Beach, you’re going to be spent.

This year is definitely different though, there’s a bigger sense of unity among the players, with the incoming freshmen already gelling with us returning players. We’re turning from a team into a family. There’s a sense of something special on the horizon and everybody knows that it will take every single player being on board in order to achieve it.

I’m looking forward to keeping you updated more as the season progresses, but it’s time for me to catch a nap before the next session!