MILWAUKEE – Gaby Schwartz blasted in a 20-yard shot from the wing in the 89th minute to send the Milwaukee women's soccer team to an impressive 3-2 victory over Butler Sunday afternoon.
The Panthers (5-1) led the Bulldogs (4-2) by scores of 1-0 and 2-1, but it was Schwartz's winner in the closing minutes that decided the game between two teams that came into the contest ranked in the United Soccer Coaches regional polls. Butler was also receiving votes this week in the national Top 25 as well.
The scoring started quickly, with MKE finding the back of the net just 1:06 into the contest. Schwartz also started that scoring play, sending a corner kick to the far post. McKaela Schmelzer's header went to the front of goal, where Haley Johnson finishing calmly for her fifth goal of the season.
"You come out and score a goal quickly and then Butler responds and makes it 1-1," head coach Troy Fabiano said. "We go up 2-1 and they scored with seven minutes to go. Sometimes, a lot of teams put their heads down. I give credit to our team, they went out and got the game-winner before overtime. That was a great college atmosphere and a great college game."
The Bulldogs had a quick response to Johnson's early goal, however, finding the equalizer just 68 seconds later on a header by Anja Savich.
"Obviously, they are a great program," Fabiano said. "We are a difficult team to beat at home too. In the same sense, you have two good teams out here today playing good soccer."
The Panthers controlled most of the first half, especially near the end. The team put together a dominant spell of possession starting in the 33rd minute, recording six corner kicks and a trio of shots over the next 10 minutes – with Mackenzie Schill denied on a great save from close range in the 40th minute.
Unable to find a second goal before intermission, Milwaukee kept up the pressure. It paid off in the 55th minute – and again came on a corner kick. Rachel Phillpotts headed the effort back to the near post, where Schill was able to pounce on it and fire in her second of the season at the 54:25 mark.
Johnson just missed what looked like an insurance goal at the time in the 65th minute, seeing her header nearly make it through the BU keeper's hands before controlling the shot.
Milwaukee again had a chance to make it 3-1, starting with a long ball from Elaina LaMacchia out of the back. Phillpotts sent a perfect thru ball to Julia Barajas, seeing her effort sail inches over the crossbar in the 79th minute.
It stayed 2-1 until late. The Bulldogs eventually tied the game again, also on a corner kick that found its way inside the near post, in the 84th minute.
With time winding down, Schwartz had a close-range free kick blocked by the defense. The ball was sent back out before another long ball was sent on goal. That touch was popped back out, where Schwartz was waiting. She drove forward, blasting a left-footed laser into the upper right of the goal for her third game-winner of the season.
The Panthers ended the day with a slim 10-to-9 advantage in shots, with BU ahead, 6-to-4 in shots on goal. MKE also had 10 of the 17 corner kicks on the day. Schwartz and Schill contributed a team-high three shots, with Schwartz posting the career-best four-point day with the goal and two assists. Amanda Kowalski finished with a goal and an assist for the visitors.
In goal, LaMacchia recorded four saves to help her team increase its winning streak at home in regular-season play to an impressive 26 in a row (24-0-2).
Up next, the team remains at home, hosting Western Illinois Sept. 12 and Marquette Sept. 15.