Monday, September 26, 2011

Conference Play Begins

Aaron Gibbons, a senior on the 2011 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his sixth entry of the year.


Once conference starts, it’s the beginning of a whole new season in our eyes. Heading into our Saturday night game against our first conference opponent, we knew it would be a challenge.

Butler had not lost at their home field since 2007, and it felt great to end their streak with a convincing 3-1 victory, and a solid three points.

The game started quickly for us as sophomore Jamie Ashcroft netted his first Panther goal in just the fourth minute. Butler equalized nearly at the halftime mark.

Our second half play was exciting to say the least, as senior Robert RefaI tallied his fourth goal of the season and freshman nick Langford scored his second on the year.

The win was a fantastic confidence booster for the team and we will hope to carry our winning ways into our next conference opponent, Green Bay this Wednesday at Engelman field. H

ope to see you all there as we look for the second conference win and move closer to the ultimate goal of the conference finals.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

On to Horizon League play...

Aaron Gibbons, a senior on the 2011 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his fifth entry of the year.


We left Milwaukee Thursday morning, confident we could get things back on track after a disappointing result with Northeastern last weekend. With two new Panther opponents in Gardner-Webb and UAB, we felt up to the challenge.

Our travel was complicated by the fact that we had to fly into Atlanta and drive to Birmingham. Traveling is always a fun experience. We are treated like professionals, with the planes, food and activities. Our lengthy travel was rewarded with a really nice hotel. We had a chance to stretch our legs with a short warm-up session on Friday morning and seemed to be ready for our unknown opponent.

Friday’s game against Gardner-Webb was not our best performance. Not sure if it was the heat or our first game on grass for the year, but we struggled to get any rhythm. We could not create much attack and John Shakon again kept us in the match through some tough times.

Parts of the second half were better and a scrappy goal by Nick Langford made us feel like we could take the points. Unfortunately, we continued to lose some physical battles and gave up an equalizer within minutes. Then, a dagger free kick in the 89th minute put us behind. We left the field knowing we didn’t play very good soccer, but even more disappointed that we let the points slip away so late.

On Sunday, going into our second of the weekend we knew we would have our hands full. The host UAB was undefeated and had a big win last week against powerhouse Clemson. While it was nice to be back in warmer weather, the heat seemed to slow our legs. The first half of the game did not go according to plan. It felt like all we did was defend. Shakon kept us in the game with a couple of awesome saves and everyone pitched in to clear balls and cover mistakes.

Coming into the second half we were flying high. Langy drew a foul in the box and Saveedra drilled the PK for a 1-0 Panther lead.

We battled and had some better play in the second half, but could seem to put together a consistent attack. Shakon continued his dominate GK play, until the pressure finally got to us with an equalizing goal with less than five minutes to play. UAB’s tall and athletic defender had come forward to score an incredible far-post header from a long throw.

We were a bit shocked going into overtime - only to have the same UAB player then scored the game winning goals on a near post header five minutes into OT.

We have to find a way to put the poor play and missed chances behind us. Our early non-conference results are the highlight of the young season. Conference play begins this weekend with a game against last year’s Horizon League champion Butler Bulldogs. It won’t get any easier, but we will prepare ourselves well knowing a good result will start conference play with a bang! We will be ready for Butler on the 24th!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Panthers Claim Milwaukee Cup!

Aaron Gibbons, a senior on the 2011 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his fourth entry of the year.


It was yet again an eventful weekend, as we came out with a very exciting victory against our biggest rivals, Marquette. It felt great to yet again win the Milwaukee Cup, taking the UWM total win tally over Marquette to 27 overall.

Though the win was a great peak for the weekend, there was a valley, as we suffered our second loss of the season due to a questionable penalty call in overtime.

The game against Marquette was electric. Always my favorite game of the year, the excitement always lives up to expectations. Playing against Marquette is the sort of game every kid dreams about playing in one day. In front of 2,000 fans, under the lights, hoisting the trophy in the air to a collaboration of UWM victory songs is truly an amazing feeling.

Though Friday was a great win, Sunday was a different story for us. It seemed as if a bit of fatigue had hit some of the lineup and our play was not the usual, as we lost 2-1 to Northeastern.

Though we scored the first goal of the game, they were able to equalize and send the game to overtime. Early in the first overtime, a penalty was awarded to Northeastern. As anyone knows who has played soccer at a high level, sometimes the difference between a win and a loss can come down to one single decision or mistake, this was very much so the case in this week’s loss.

A quick note from last week’s practice:

As a senior, I have developed quite the eye for hidden talent, and hidden talent I have seen from a few choice players on our UWM soccer team. Junior Jamie Bladen has truly developed a big soccer kick that is extremely powerful and deadly. He has been booting it very long lately and is showing good promise for the upcoming season. Sophomore Robbie Boyd has also shown some improvement as his soccer kicks are flying into the goal as well! Should be quite the weekend at UAB, and looking forward to two victories from the Panthers!

-Aaron Gibbs #8

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

And the Panther Invitational is ours...

Aaron Gibbons, a senior on the 2011 Milwaukee men's soccer team, will be blogging all season long on the UWM website. Today is his third entry of the year.


Following a disappointing loss to IPFW, there wasn’t any better way for us to end the weekend than with two solid victories. There were numerous exciting accomplishments that the Panthers earned this weekend, both as a team and individually.

Winning the 37th Panther Invitational was definitely the overall highlight of the weekend. The last time we had accomplished this was back in 2006. It feels good to have won the first trophy of the season. And, with perhaps the most important trophy match on the line this Friday, there’s little time to sit back and enjoy this one.

Not only was winning the Panther Invitational a refreshing feeling, but the style and swagger that the team has started to play with these last two matches is even more exciting, if you ask me. The win over Western Michigan on Sunday marked the first time in my college career that we had scored four goals in a home game and came out on top. This four-goal win was also the greatest margin of a win in my college career. It just goes to show how our hard work and dedication has truly paid off in these first couple of games.

Having two great wins under our belt was a great way to end the week. Though both were exciting, there’s no comparison to the anticipation of the Milwaukee Cup coming up on Friday. Playing against Marquette is always in my opinion the best game of the year. There really nothing like it. The atmosphere and the crowd is always top notch, last year capacity coming to over two thousand.

The Milwaukee Cup not only is known as a rivalry statewide, but nationally as well. College Soccer News posted the game as the 14th-most exciting college rivalry game in the nation, in my opinion should be much higher. Friday’s game is sure to be high intensity, entertaining and a true battle.

Hopefully I will see you all there Friday at Engelman!!!