EVANSTON, Ill.—After four hours of severe weather delays, a site location change to Northwestern University and playing through 42 mph gusts of wind, the Milwaukee men’s soccer team has been crowned the 2013 Horizon League Men’s Soccer Tournament Champion with a 2-0 win over UIC.
At the beginning of the second half, Andrew Stone launched a header to the back of the net past UIC goalkeeper Andrew Putna that proved to be the eventual game-winner for the Panthers. The Horizon League Championship title marks the first time the Panthers have won the tournament since 2005 and fifth time in program history. The win also guarantees Milwaukee an automatic qualifying bid to the NCAA Tournament.
The night began with No. 1 seed UIC and No. 2 seed Milwaukee squaring off under conditions that the normal person wouldn’t leave their house under. Once the whistle sounded; all elements no longer mattered and the Flames and Panthers slowly settled in to the field conditions and pace of play.
Neither team was able to hold possession long throughout the first half as the wind created unpredictable outcomes every time the ball was sent into the air. Traditional scoring plays off of corners and free kicks intensified as the minutes rolled on as the game was seemingly panning out to be a low scoring affair.
The first half concluded with Milwaukee leading in corner kicks 4-0 and shots 7-5.
In the 51st minute of the second half, Milwaukee took the lead off of a corner kick by Luke Goodnetter that found the head of Andrew Stone who launched it past UIC goalkeeper Andrew Putna. The goal is Stone’s third on the season and second in the past 24 hours.
The pace of play really picked up as Putna made two great saves off of shots from the Panthers’ offense. UIC then surged down the field to put pressure on the Milwaukee defense but was unable to convert on a corner kick opportunity.
The physicality of the game increased as possession went back and forth until the 67th minute when Luke Goodnetter launched a free kick from 40 yards out that found the foot of Declan Rodriguez. The goal marks Rodriguez’s third on the season and Goodnetter’s second assist on the evening.
For the match, Milwaukee led in shots 13-8 and corner kicks 6-1. UIC goalkeeper Andrew Putna and Milwaukee goalkeeper Liam Anderson each had four saves on the night.
The NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Tournament selection show will take place Monday, Nov. 18 at Noon ET on NCAA.com.
Tyler Blackmer, Wright State
Greg Marchand, Wright State
Sean Lewis, Oakland
Nick Kristock, Oakland
Josh Beard, UIC
Slobodan Aleksov, UIC
Jesus Torres, UIC
Laurie Bell, Milwaukee
Luke Goodnetter, Milwaukee
Aaron Cranfill, Milwaukee
Andrew Stone, Milwaukee (MVP)