By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - According to Green Bay (7-5-1, 2-2-0) men's soccer head coach Kris Kelderman, the Phoenix has its "swagger" back after posting its third consecutive win with a 2-0 result against Wisconsin (7-5-2, 3-0-0) Wednesday at Aldo Santaga Stadium. The Phoenix not only had the challenge of beating the No. 6 team in the Great Lakes region with an RPI of 22, it had to battle fierce wind conditions that made temperatures feel below freezing.
"It was extremely tough playing," said defender Andrew Stone (Green Bay, Wis.). "It was a story of two halves with us having the ball the entire time with the wind at our backs in the first half and then them controlling the second half."
The 2-0 win over Wisconsin was Green Bay's second consecutive shutout and third of the season after shutting out Butler 1-0 Oct. 15 and SIUE Sept. 1 in its regular season opener.
"One thing we did heading into this week was really challenge our guys to come up big on the defensive side of the ball and take pride in our defense," Kelderman said. "The chances that we've been creating offensively, we know we can do on the defensive side of the ball as well and that's really starting to show."
With the wind at its back the first half, Green Bay led 1-0 at the break. The lone goal of the half came nine minutes into the game when Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) took a corner kick for Green Bay and Alonso Flores (Chicago, Ill.) came up with the header goal while Wisconsin goalie Max Jentsch stepped out of position in an attempt to block the shot.
Wisconsin was unable to fire a shot in the first half as the Phoenix outshot the Badgers 9-0 and 2-0 on corner kicks. The Badgers fired its first shot of the game less than three minutes into the second half before finishing the contest with seven shots, two on goal.
Green Bay proved it could also play against the wind as Kirby Allen (Appleton, Wis.) scored his team-high fourth goal of the season off a long pass from freshman William Donovan (St. Charles, Mo.) on the right side of the field. The assist was Donovan's first of his career.
"In the first half we knew we had to be aggressive with the conditions and then had to do some adjusting in the second half, but thankfully were able to add that goal to put the icing on the cake," said Kelderman. "It was just a great effort by our team."
The Phoenix outshot Wisconsin 11-7 with Allen and Aaron Cranfill (New Berlin, Wis.) leading the way with two shots. Goalie Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) had two saves, tallying his 17th career shutout, just two shy of tying the individual career record (19) at Green Bay. Grable's assist on the first goal of the game is a team and career-high sixth on the season.
"Our past three wins against three big opponents are very encouraging," said Kelderman. "We got a little swagger back that we had at the beginning of the season and at the same time we never got too low with the lows.
Of the eight coaches in the history of the Green Bay men's soccer program, Kelderman is the third to beat Wisconsin his first time facing the Badgers.
"Every win is a big one but there's probably a little more meaning in this game with it being an in-state rival," Kelderman said. "Wisconsin is a good team and they've proven that over the past couple of weeks so obviously the win is a big one."
Green Bay has four games remaining in regular season play, all against Horizon League opponents. The Phoenix will have a short break before facing league leader Cleveland State (6-6-1, 3-1-1) Saturday at 6 p.m. then returning home to host Detroit (4-7-1, 0-3-1) Oct. 26 at 7 p.m.
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