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!!!