Phoenix Faces Key Game at Wright State Saturday
GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The Green Bay (9-5-1, 4-2-0 HL) men's soccer team will play its final road game of the regular season Saturday as it travels to Wright State (7-6-2, 3-2-1 HL) for a key Horizon League contest at 6 p.m. ET at Alumni Field. With Green Bay sitting in third place in the conference standings, the Phoenix is battling for a No. 1 or No. 2 seed in the six-team Horizon League Championship with two games to play.
"Everyone on the team knows where we are at it in the standings and knows we have to play well, it's not going to be an easy game," said first year head coach Kris Kelderman. "But at the same time it's pretty exciting; big players step up in big moments and that's what we're expecting."
The Phoenix enters Saturday's contest on a five-game winning streak, its longest of the season, while the Raiders are coming off a 2-0 loss at UIC. Wright State is also in a must-win situation with two Horizon League games to play, including Green Bay and Butler, sitting in fourth place in the standings.
Valparaiso enters Saturday atop the Horizon League standings with a 4-0-1 conference record followed by Cleveland State with a 4-2-1 record and Green Bay and Wright State falling in third and fourth respectively. Milwaukee (2-2-2), UIC (2-2-1) and seventh-place Butler (1-3-1) are all still fighting for seeds in the tournament and avoid elimination. Needless to say, coaches will be checking the Horizon League scoreboard within moments after the final buzzer sounds on Saturday.
"My assistant Kyle will be on the phone shortly after the game, especially at this stage of the year," Kelderman said.
Wright State is being led in scoring by Justin Laird while Green Bay is being led by senior Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) and Sam Krenzien (Wauwatosa, Wis.) who all have five goals each. After going eight games without a goal, Krenzien had a hat trick in Green Bay's 3-1 win over Detroit Wed. Oct. 26.
HORIZON LEAGUE RANKINGS: Green Bay is third in the league with 24 goals while Wright State is seventh with 19. The Phoenix has fired 223 shots, which is fourth among Horizon League teams, while the Raiders have taken 167. Both teams have registered three shut outs throughout the season.
Individually, Green Bay captain Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) continues to lead the league with six assists while Walls has chipped in five for the Phoenix. Wright State goalie Craig Feehan and Green Bay's Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) have 55 saves each, which is the third most among league keepers.
NATIONAL RANKING SUMMARY: With its recent winning streak, Green Bay jumped up to No. 76 in this week's NCAA RPI standings. In addition, for the first time this season Green Bay finds itself in the weekly NSCAA Regional Rankings at No. 9 in the Great Lakes region.
Wright State's RPI currently ranks No. 111 as the Raiders were ranked as high as No. 7 in the weekly NSCAA Regional Rankings Sept. 13.
WALLS NATIONAL TOP 100: Senior Tony Walls continues to prove to the soccer world why he is one of the top players at the collegiate level. In this week's Men's National Top 100 player rankings on TopDrawerSoccer.com, Walls moved up from No. 59 to No. 21. Since the first rankings released Oct. 5, the midfielder has been ranked as the No. 1 player among Horizon League players.
The rankings are updated weekly and include sophomores, juniors, and seniors all across the nation.
SNEAK PEAK: Green Bay will wrap up regular season play at home Saturday, Nov. 5 as it hosts Horizon League front runner Valparaiso (8-5-3, 4-0-1) at Aldo Santaga Stadium at 1 p.m. Before the game, Phoenix seniors Stuart Grable, AJ Konchar, Tony Patterson and Tony Walls will be honored for their dedication to the Green Bay men's soccer program.
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