Men's Soccer Hits the Road to Face Milwaukee Saturday Night|
Oct. 5, 2012
CHICAGO - The UIC men's soccer team will look to continue its unbeaten streak Saturday, when the Flames travel to Milwaukee in a Horizon League showdown beginning at 7 p.m. CST. The Flames have not suffered a defeat in their last five matches, dating back to Sept. 14 vs. IUPUI.
"Coach Kelderman did a great job when he was the head coach at Green Bay in a short amount of time, and they are already starting to turn the corner at Milwaukee," said head coach Sean Phillips. "They have a lot of young, talented players much like we do. Hopefully some of our experience can give us an edge, but Milwaukee has a lot of solid experience as well, especially in goal and in their attack. It's going to be a big challenge for our guys in a rivalry game Saturday night."
The Flames (4-4-2, 1-0-1 Horizon) enter Saturday's contest in a second-place tie in the Horizon League standings. UIC has shut-out two-straight opponents, including a 1-0 blanking of defending regular season champion Valparaiso last Saturday (Sept. 29) at Flames Field. The Flames have allowed just one goal over the last four contests.
Senior midfielder Ivan Stanisavljevic, the Horizon League preseason Offensive Player of the Year, continues to lead the Flames offensively, with 11 total points (four goals, three assists) - he was tabbed the League's No. 1 player by Top Drawer Soccer in the publication's midseason report, released Friday. Freshman midfielder Joel Salmeron has also chipped in a team second-best three goals, while Ned Pavlovic (2), Phil Galounis (1), Isai Lemus (1) and Zach Kaleta (1) have provided the remainder of UIC's goal scoring. The Flames have also seen seven different players tally assists on the season.
Kaleta is the Horizon League's reigning Defensive Player of the Week. The Barrington, Ill., native began the 2012 season as the only returning player on the back line, with the other three primary defenders being true or redshirt freshmen. Kaleta helped the Flames secure back-to-back shut-outs for the first time since the 2010 campaign last week. Additionally, redshirt freshman goalkeeper Goran Ikic was tabbed the League's Player of the Week by College Sports Madness, and also chalked up a weekly honor from Chicagoland Soccer News after recording shut-outs in each of his first two career starts.
Milwaukee (4-4-2, 0-0-2 Horizon) is being led offensively by sophomore midfielder Laurie Bell, who has scored a Horizon League second-best five goals on the season. Declan Rodriguez and Stuart McBain have also chipped in with two goals apiece. The Panthers' primary goalkeeper is John Shakon, who has started nine games, making 35 saves while producing a pair of shut-outs.
The Panthers overcame a 2-0 deficit to achieve a 2-2 draw versus rival Green Bay on the road Wednesday night, retaining the Chancellor's Cup. In its only other Horizon League match, Milwaukee settled for a 1-1 draw at Loyola. Milwaukee and UIC had two common non-conference opponents, with both teams facing off against Marquette and IUPUI.
UIC posted a 3-1 win over the Panthers in the regular season finale at Flames Field last season - Stanisavljevic scored the game-winner to help the Flames secure a berth in the postseason Horizon League Tournament. Milwaukee leads the all-time series, 16-14-4, but UIC has owned a distinct advantage in the last 11 meetings, going 8-1-2, including a win over the Panthers in the 2007 Horizon League Tournament. UIC recorded a 1-0, double-overtime win over Milwaukee in its last trip to Engelmann Field (10/23/10).