GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - After starting the 2011 season with a tough four game stretch on the road, the Green Bay (2-1-1) men's soccer team will play its home opener Friday as it hosts Niagara (3-1-1) in the Green Bay Soccer Classic. The contest will kick off at 7 p.m. following the first game between Eastern Illinois (2-3-0) and Dayton (1-4-0), which begins at 4:30 p.m. at Aldo Santaga Stadium.
Green Bay enters Friday's game coming off a 2-1 win over UNLV in the Nike Tournament in which Alonso Flores (Chicago, Ill.) and Sam Krenzien (Wauwatosa, Wis.) both scored for the Phoenix in the second half.
Prior to its win over host UNLV, the Phoenix lost a tough battle against CSU Fullerton by a final of 2-1 in which both teams scored a penalty kick goal in the second half.
Seniors Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) and Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) are leading the way for the Phoenix in the young season. Grable has fired seven shots, five on goal, with a shots-on-goal percentage of .714 while Walls has scored two goals and two assists, leading the team with six points. On the defensive side of the ball, goalie Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) has been solid for Green Bay with 28 saves and one shutout on the season. Wehking ranks sixth in the nation in saves per game (7.0) and 11th in total saves.
After being on the road for its first four games of the season the Phoenix is looking forward to playing on its home field. To watch Green Bay head coach Kris Kelderman prepare his team for the Green Bay Soccer Classic, click here.
Eastern Illinois University (EIU): The Panthers (2-3-0) will kick off the Green Bay Soccer Classic against Dayton at 4:30 p.m. at Aldo Santaga Stadium. EIU enters Friday's contest with two consecutive losses, most recently falling 2-3 in an overtime battle against Evansville. EIU is led by senior defender Mike Picinich, who has one goal on the season and considered the team's defensive rock. The team captain has played 458 minutes, the second most on the team. On the offensive side of the ball, freshman Garet Christianson is pacing the way with three goals and a shots-on-goal percentage of .750.
University of Dayton: Dayton (1-4-0) enters Friday's contest coming off a loss (1-2) against Western Illinois. Two of the Flyers' four losses this season have come against ranked opponents (No. 10 Notre Dame and No. 18 Indiana). Dayton's Victor Duru is the team's leading scorer with two goals, one assist and five points, all coming in the recent Marriott Classic. The Flyers' lone win on the season came Sept. 9 in its home opener with a 2-0 shutout against Houston Baptist.
Niagara: Green Bay will face Niagara (3-1-1) in Friday night's second game of the Green Bay Soccer Classic at 7 p.m. The Purple Eagles enter the contest after a 2-0 shutout win over Robert Morris. For the third consecutive week, Niagara has been ranked in the North Atlantic Region. Senior forward Carl Haworth leads the Purple Eagles with four goals, three assists and 11 points throughout five games. After opening its season with a loss on the road, Niagara is currently on a four-game unbeaten streak with wins over St. Bonaventure (3-1), Cornell (3-1) and Robert Morris (2-0) and a draw against with Hartwick (1-1).
History of the Tournament: This is the 27th year the Green Bay men's soccer program has hosted a tournament. Started in 1977 under head coach Hank Eichin, the four-team tournament was originally called the Phoenix Invitational. Formerly known as the Great Lakes Classic, Green Bay is 29-10-11 all-time in the event.
Tournament Format: The winning team will receive three points. Each team will receive one point for a tie and zero points are handed out for a loss. The team with the most points at the end of the final game will be declared the winner of the invitational.
Tie-Breaker: In the event a tie-breaker is needed, the winner will be declared based on head-to-head competition. If there is still a tie, goal differential will be used followed by goals scored then goals against.
All-Tournament Team: At the conclusion of the tournament, coaches will select and vote for 11 players to be named to the all-tournament team.
Season tickets and Fall Sports Passes are now on sale for men's soccer, as well as women's soccer and volleyball. Season tickets for each sport are available for $25 each, or a Fall Sports Pass can be purchased for admission to all three sports for just $50 for an adult and $25 for a youth pass. For more information and an order form, click here.