Solid Offense Helps Phoenix Carry Momentum into Post-Season Play
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - For the second consecutive season, the Green Bay (12-4-1, 6-2-0 HL) men's soccer team heads into the Horizon League Championship as a No. 2 seed, and for the second consecutive season Green Bay's offense is powered by senior JC Banks (Milwaukee, Wis.).
Despite being overlooked for Horizon League Offensive Player of the Year accolades, Banks leads the league in three of four offensive categories, goals (12), points (29) and shots (78). Banks is third in the league in assists with five.
"No question, JC scores a lot of goals for us and a lot of teams are going to key on him, but that's okay because we have a lot of other guys like Tony Walls and Sam Krenzien who can step up," said head coach Tom Poitras.
After a slow start to the season, Green Bay has an eight-game winning streak heading into this weekend's tournament, the third longest in school history. Five of Green Bay's last eight games have been played away from home, just like Friday's second round game will be.
Regardless of whether the Phoenix is on the road or at home, its offense has been solid and consistent heading into the most important part of the season.
"We definitely have a lot of guys that are capable of scoring. They just need to show that confidence heading into the tournament," Poitras said. "Big players step up and make plays in big game situations, and we expect that this weekend."
Throughout the winning streak, Green Bay has averaged 2.5 goals per game with seven different players scoring. Second in the league in goals (35), assists (24), points (94) and shots (278), Green Bay has outscored its opponents 20-6 during the streak with a shot-on-goal percentage of .460.
Nationally, Green Bay's scoring offense ranks 13th and it is 17th in total goals and won-lost-tied percentage. Statistically on paper, Green Bay appears to be more than ready for its second consecutive tournament championship, but Poitras feels his team still has a lot to improve on before Friday's 11 a.m. kick off.
"We still need to fine-tune some things. Finishing is always the key in big games because you don't get many chances so we need to be sharper around the goal," said Poitras. "We need a solid team effort and if we do the little things right we can come out on the positive end."
Green Bay will play No. 3 seed Loyola (5-10-2, 4-3-1 HL) on Friday at 11 a.m. at the Butler Bowl in Indianapolis. With a win Friday, Green Bay will advance to its second-consecutive championship game Sunday at noon.