The Milwaukee Panthers seem to always give Head Coach Eric Pogue and the men’s soccer team a tough fight. Last season, the Golden Grizzlies lost 1-0 against the Panthers in the first round of the playoffs.
Before the match kicked off, there was a moment of silence to remember former Golden Grizzly soccer player Adam Heinemann, who suddenly died at the age of 41 on Oct. 15.
Heinemann played at Oakland University before Pogue did, but the two spent time together as defenders for the Michigan Bucks. Heinemann’s number nine was created in a chalk heart on the field in the left backer position where he played.
“Adam and I went to war together with the Michigan Bucks for many, many years,” Pogue said. “He was my left back. It’s heartbreaking to lose someone so young, with so much life left to live. Everyone loved him.”
Pogue felt honoring Heinemann and making sure to take the time to remember his legacy was good for his team, to show the value of legacy and family.
“Even if it threw us off-kilter, you have to do what is right,” he said. “Adam meant a lot to our program. Adam would have been proud of the way we played today.”
The match was a sequence of attempted counterattacks and missed opportunities for both teams. Milwaukee was unable to get a shot on goal for almost the entire match, something that is uncommon for them.
The Panthers have two of the most impactful offensive players in the Horizon League in Vuk Latinovich and Evan Conway, who both have over 50 shots each this season.
“Evan Conway is one of the best players in the league,” Pogue said. “Those guys got zero shots this game. No one has shut them down the way we did. Milwaukee is just a good, solid, well-coached, disciplined and organized team. They are going to make you earn a goal, they aren’t going to give you a goal.”
There were few chances for goals in this game, as both defenses were playing tough and getting the ball out of the box whenever there was danger. The Golden Grizzlies had some shots at a go-ahead goal, but most shots on frame were right at Milwaukee goalkeeper Freddy Lorenzen.
Since Milwaukee got only one shot on frame in the match, Sullivan Lauderdale only recorded one save, however after the game, Pogue was praising his junior goalkeeper.
“Sullivan has been out of this world this season,” he said. “Having good goalkeepers at Oakland is common, we have a long history of great goalkeepers. Anytime you have a goalkeeper like that it keeps you in the game.
The tie for Oakland secured the two seed in the Horizon League tournament, after the University of Illinois-Chicago (UIC) Flames won 2-1 in overtime against Cleveland State later that night. This gives the Golden Grizzlies a first round bye in the tournament.
Next up for the men’s soccer team is their final game of the regular season against Northern Kentucky on Friday, Nov. 8. The team will then take a week off before their match-up against whoever wins the quarterfinal match between the No. 4 and No. 5 teams in the conference.