In bittersweet fashion, the Rangers are shutout by rival powerhouse Drury 3-0 but clinch the Great Lakes Valley Conference’s fourth seed culminating in home-field advantage for the postseason.
Featuring a men’s soccer GLVC bout, UW-Parkside (8-4-2) (13-4-2) hosted No. 7 Drury University (12-1) (15-1) in a captivating Sunday afternoon at Wood Road Field in Kenosha.
With accommodating results in their circuit standings, UWP’s emergence in the second half was overshadowed by both a playoff birth and a sub-par opening 45 minutes.
Junior defense-man Matt Gloshen contributed an outstanding performance by both playing stellar defense and facilitating Parkside’s offense.
“At times we played well, but overall, we lacked communication and efficiency on both sides of the ball,” said a disappointed Gloshen.
Drury’s high octane offense pressured the Rangers into making mental mistakes that were difficult to overcome. Goal-keeper Jamie Lieberman performed several impressive saves to neutralize their erratic play, and even received assistance on one occasion from the defensive awareness of midfielder Niklas Boedts.
Despite holding up the first 18:41, a setup by Drury’s Ben Taylor was headed into the back of the net by forward Micah Wharton (13) just before Lieberman could snare it.
“Grabbing the early lead was really imperative today,” assured Wharton. “We beat a tough team and knowing we clinched that top spot in the conference will make it a satisfying ride home.”
Lacking the ability to function as a cohesive unit, Parkside struggled to put together sustainable offensive possessions.
At 30:33, Drury’s Andrew Bordelon exploited a costly miscue in the box by Boedts which the midfielder translated into his eighth goal of the year and a 2-0 Panthers lead.
Poor execution by the Rangers further solidified Drury’s success. Just minutes after the previous score, a deflection in the box was chipped in by the opportunistic approach of junior Adam Peterson providing insurance for Drury.
Uncharacteristically, Parkside was simply dominated in the first half as the Panthers held superiority in the always crucial categories of time of ball possession and quality shots.
“You have to give their guys credit,” said Kilps. “But we still played tentative and didn’t put our A game out on the field.”
Despite an increased urgency in the second half, the Rangers failed to capitalize on scoring opportunities initiated by forwards Spencer Bursten and Jon Bebeau.
Frustration could be deemed an understatement as a brilliant manuever by freshman midfielder Kinkade Lo resulted in a shot deflecting wide right. In addition, the attempt to clean up the miss by senior forward Johnson Thao resulted in a blast clear over the cross-bar.
Epitomizing Parkside’s potent second half that failed to tack on any points to the scoreboard marked an 11-2 advantage in shots attempted and a 5-0 edge in corner kicks.
The Rangers controlled the contest in the final 45 minutes but still managed to be blanked by their conference rival foe 3-0 snapping their three-game winning streak.
Parkside will enter the GLVC tournament set to host Bellarmine University for a quarterfinals match Sunday, Nov. 1 at noon. After an additional non-conference game was recently added to their schedule, UWP hosts Robert Morris-Lake County for their season finale kicking off at 3:30 pm Wednesday, Oct. 28.
“We can’t be pleased with the result, but that’s soccer for you,” said Kilps. “You can’t come out sloppy against a top-notch program and expect a positive outcome.”