By: Jill Wunrow
Green Bay, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - The No. 4 seed Green Bay (11-6-1, 5-3 HL) men's soccer team will face No. 2 seed Wright State (10-6-2, 5-2-1 HL) in the Horizon League Championship semifinal Friday at 4 p.m. at Eastgate Field in Valparaiso, Ind. The Phoenix advanced with a 2-0 win over No. 5 seed UIC (9-7-3, 3-4-1 HL) in the quarterfinal round Nov. 8 at Aldo Santaga Stadium. The Raiders earned a first round bye as the No. 2 seed.
Friday's game will mark the first time since 2001 that the Phoenix and the Raiders meet in Horizon League Tournament play. The last meeting in the postseason was in the 2001 quarterfinals when No. 4 seed Wright State beat No. 5 seed Green Bay 5-1.
Green Bay and Wright State are the only two teams to enter the Horizon League Championship with 10 wins this season. Just two weeks ago (Oct. 29), the Phoenix and Raiders battled in regular season play at Wright State. The Raiders scored two goals in two minutes en route to snapping Green Bay's five-game winning streak with a 2-1 win.
Horizon League Award Winners... Friday's semifinal game will feature a total of nine 2011 Horizon League Award Winners. Green Bay senior Tony Walls (Wauwatosa, Wis.) earned Player of the Year honors while Wright State's Craig Feehan earned Newcomer of the Year honors. Walls was also a First Team All-League selection alongside Wright State midfielder Bryce Rockwell-Ashton and Brian Cothern. Green Bay's Stuart Grable (Neenah, Wis.) and Andrew Stone (Green Bay, Wis.) earned Second Team All-League honors while Justin Laird and Gustav Svensson from the Raiders' squad were selected to the All-Newcomer Team along with Green Bay's Kirby Allen (Appleton, Wis.).
Coaching Ties... Green Bay first year head coach Kris Kelderman and third year Wright State head coach Bryan Davis both hail from the state of Wisconsin and have a past coaching relationship. While Kelderman was an assistant coach at George Mason, Davis was an assistant coach at George Washington. At the same time, Kelderman was the technical director at a youth soccer club in northern Virginia where Davis was a member of his coaching staff.
National Ranking Summary... In this week's NSCAA national rankings Green Bay is No. 10 in the Great Lakes Region while Wright State is also receiving votes. The Phoenix is up to No. 67 in the RPI rankings while the Raiders are at No. 82.
Career Notes... Green Bay junior goalkeeper Ryan Wehking (St. Louis, Mo.) is tied atop Green Bay's career record list with 19 shutouts. Wehking and the Phoenix have five shutouts this season, including its most recent 2-0 win over UIC in the quarterfinal round of the tournament.
Follow the Action Live... Fans not able to make the trip to Valparaiso to cheer on the Phoenix can follow the action live, here.
Scouting Report... To hear coach Kelderman's thoughts on playing Wright State in the Horizon League semifinals, click on the video below.
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