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Weekend Preview Special: The 41st Milwaukee Cup

Friday night, #10/#12 Marquette travels to the east side of Milwaukee and Engelmann Field to play the UW-Milwaukee Panthers in the season opener for both squads.

C. Nortey had an assist in his Milwaukee Cup debut in 2011.
C. Nortey had an assist in his Milwaukee Cup debut in 2011.

Game 1: At UW-Milwaukee (0-0-0)

Where: Engelmann Field, Milwaukee, WI
When: 7:30pm Central
Audio/Visual: The Horizon League Network is streaming the game.

The Golden Eagles come into the season amidst praise from all sides. They're ranked #10 in the country by Soccer America, #12 by the NSCAA, and #9 by Top Drawer Soccer. Senior midfielder Bryan Ciesiulka, sophomore forward C. Nortey and sophomore defender Axel Sjoberg were named to the all-Big East preseason team, with Sjoberg being named co-preseason defensive player of the year. Marquette was picked to finish third in the Big East, but that's still high praise, since consensus top 10 teams Georgetown and Creighton were picked to finish first and second.

As for the Panthers, their official writeup previewing their own season makes a big deal about how they had a winning record in 2012 for the first time since Louis Bennett made his babyface turn and moved from UWM to Marquette. However, they only finished the regular season with a winning record, as a 1-0 loss to Valparaiso in the Horizon League tournament left them with an 8-8-2 record for the year. As for this season, UWM was picked to finish second in the Horizon League by the coaches. That's fairly impressive, as six of the eight teams in the conference got at least 1 first place vote. The Panthers return three of the five men who scored two or more goals in 2012, including leading scorer Laurie Bell. Bell tallied eight goals and five assists to earn first team all-conference honors. John Shakon was a four year starter in net for the Panthers, so head coach Kris Kelderman will have to choose an option out of the three keepers that are on the roster. It's hard to say which direction he'll go in, but it's worth noting that true freshman Liam Anderson played all 90 minutes of their exhibition match against UW-Parkside.

As the headline pointed out and as discussed yesterday in Tweet Of the Week, this is the 41st Milwaukee Cup match, and last year's match ended like this:

Go invade Engelmann!