Phoenix Heads to Cleveland State for Horizon League Battle
By: Jill Wunrow
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - With three consecutive wins over teams nationally ranked throughout the season (Tulsa, Butler, Wisconsin), the Green Bay (7-5-1, 2-2-0) men's soccer team looks for its fourth win in a row as it travels to Cleveland State (6-7-1, 3-1-1) Saturday to battle the Vikings who sit atop the Horizon League standings. Saturday's contest at 7 p.m. ET at Krenzler Field will kick off Green Bay's final four games of the season, all against conference opponents.
"These last four games are huge with all of them being against conference opponents," said head coach Kris Kelderman. "Cleveland State has always been a program that can beat any team on any given day so we need to be on our best to beat them."
The Vikings are coming off a 1-0 loss at home against IUPUI after winning four in a row. With a 3-1-1 record in Horizon League play, Cleveland State's lone loss came at Wright State after tying Valparaiso three days prior. Meanwhile, Green Bay suffered its two conference losses on the road at Milwaukee and UIC and will be looking for its first Horizon League road win of the season on Saturday. This season Cleveland State is 1-3-1 on its home field.
TEAM LEADERS: Green Bay is being led by senior Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) and freshman Kirby Allen (Appleton, Wis.) who each have four goals for the Phoenix while Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) leads his team and the league with six assists. Meanwhile sophomore Admir Suljevic leads the Vikings in every statistical category including points (16), goals (6), assists (4), shots (38) and three game-winning goals.
HORIZON LEAGUE RANKINGS: Green Bay has scored 19 goals on the season compared to Cleveland State's 18 while both teams have registered 13 assists, which is sixth in the league. The Phoenix is fourth in the league with 194 shots while the Vikings are sixth with 160.
Saturday's game will be a battle in the box as Cleveland State goalie and reigning Horizon League Player of the Week Brad Stuver is second in the league with 56 saves while Green Bay's Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) is third with 50, posting two consecutive shutouts.
THE SERIES: The Phoenix owns an 18-15-3 record against Cleveland State and is 8-10 on the Vikings' home field. Last season Green Bay fell 3-1 at Krenzler Field Oct. 1.
COACHING TIES: Green Bay coach Kris Kelderman and Cleveland State head coach Ali Kazemaini have a history together from their playing careers. When Kelderman started his major league career and was drafted by the Baltimore Blast in the Major Indoor Soccer League (fourth overall), Kazemaini was ending his career and pursued coaching.
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