Flames Eye Postseason Berth; Host Milwaukee Saturday
Nov. 4, 2011
CHICAGO -The UIC men's soccer team will host Milwaukee under the lights of Flames Field Saturday night (7 p.m.) with a postseason berth on the line. If the Flames defeat the Panthers, UIC will advance to next week's Horizon League Tournament; with a loss, they would be eliminated from postseason contention.
UIC enters the match with an 8-6-3 (2-4-1 Horizon) record -- the Flames are coming off Wednesday's 1-0 setback at Loyola. The Ramblers' James Howe scored an unassisted goal in the 30th minute (29:12) in what turned out to be the contest's lone goal and eventual game-winner.
UIC currently sits in eighth place in the Horizon League standings, while Milwaukee (6-9-2, 2-3-2 Horizon) is in seventh-place -- Saturday's match marks the regular season finale for both teams. The top-six finishers in the regular season standings automatically advance to the Horizon League Tournament.
The Flames control their own destiny, and could climb as high as the No. 5 seed in the postseason tournament with a victory over the Panthers. With a win over Milwaukee, coupled with a win or tie for Wright State against Butler, UIC would garner the No. 5 seed.
If UIC defeats the Panthers and Butler defeats WSU, the Flames would occupy the No. 6 seed. If Milwaukee tallies the road win over the Flames, they would advance to the tournament, and could also climb as high as the No. 5 seed.
UIC is 6-2 at home this season, including a 3-1 mark in Horizon League matches at Flames Field. The Flames blanked second-place Wright State (2-0) in their last conference home game (10/26/11).
Milwaukee defeated Northern Illinois (1-0) in non-conference action on Wednesday, its first win since Sept. 28. The Panthers opened Horizon League play with back-to-back wins over Butler (9/24/11) and Green Bay (9/28/11), but have gone winless since. Milwaukee also tied Detroit (10/8/11) and Wright State (10/15/11) in back-to-back conference matches in mid-October. The Panthers are 1-3-1 on the road this season.
Robert Refai is the Panthers' top scorer, with seven goals and 15 total points on the season. Geraldo Saavedra has added four goals with a team-high four assists, while Nick Langford has scored three goals. Between the posts, Josh Shakon and Josh Rohde have shared the starting duties. Shakon has posted a 1.53 goals-against-average with 52 saves in 11 games played this season.
Saturday's contest will mark the final home game for UIC seniors Nermin Dautovic, Moriba Diallo, Eric Frazier, Taylor Kelliher, Craig Krzyskowski, Paul Tracy and Drew Wolfe - the class will be honored in a pre-match ceremony.
UIC posted a 1-0 win over the host Panthers in double-overtime last season (10/23/10). Milwaukee leads the all-time series, 16-13-4, but UIC has owned a distinct advantage in the last 10 meetings, going 7-1-2, including a win over the Panthers in the 2007 Horizon League Tournament.