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Miller lifts Badgers to shutout win over Oakland

ON WISCONSIN <b>Brandon Miller helped lead the Badgers to a 1-0 win over Oakland on Friday</b>
Brandon Miller helped lead the Badgers to a 1-0 win over Oakland on Friday

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. -- Brandon Miller's goal in the 69th minute lifted the Wisconsin men's soccer team to victory Friday, as the Badgers opened the Milwaukee Panther Invitational with a 1-0 win over Oakland at Engelmann Field.

The win snapped a two-game losing streak for the Badgers (2-2-1), who put together their third shutout in five matches this season. UW held Oakland (2-3-1) scoreless on 11 shots, handing the Golden Grizzlies their third-straight loss.

Miller put the Badgers on the board and on top for good when he took a ball from Eric Conklin on the left side of the 18-yard box and beat an Oakland defender head-to-head, putting home his first score of the year from about eight yards out.

"Brandon came up with a big play," head coach Todd Yeagley said. "He had a great run on the ball, kept his defender off balance with the dribble and then topped it off with a great shot."

Miller's was one of six shots-on-goal for the Badgers, who tallied 14 shots in all. UW's defense, short-handed after the loss of junior Cale Cooper to a season-ending knee injury, limited the Grizzlies to 11 shots.

Along with the setback for Cooper, the Badgers battled a number of other injuries and some illness while preparing for Friday's contest.

"We did a good job of making adjustments based on some of the things we had to deal with this week, and I really felt that we managed the game well," Yeagley said. "We had a nice contribution from Kyle McCrudden in his first minutes, got some strong play in the midfield from Jon Rzepka, and I thought Eric Conklin really did a nice job when we slid him to the back because of some of those injuries."

The Badgers out-shot Oakland, 8-4, in a scoreless first half, but each team put three shots on goal. Senior goalkeeper Alex Horwath, playing with an injured hand, stopped all three of the Grizzlies' attempts, however, to keep the match scoreless at halftime

He stopped all five shots he faced and finished off the shutout for the 16th clean sheet of his career.

"I thought, after the first 15 or 20 minutes, we really did a nice job of settling in and developing a good rhythm," Yeagley said. "That carried over to the second half, and we had great energy that led to some good chances for us."

Senior forward Scott Lorenz led the charge for the Badgers attack with three shots, while Miller, junior Jon Rzepka and freshman Ata Ozbay each contributed a pair of shots.

Wisconsin finished with five corner kicks compared to four for the Grizzlies.

Friday's match began a run of six consecutive games for the Badgers against teams that played in the 2008 NCAA Tournament. That difficult stretch continues Sunday in Milwaukee, with the Badgers set to take on No. 9 UC Santa Barbara at noon.

Wisconsin, making its 19th appearance in the Panther Invitational, improved to 25-12 all-time in the event ... the Badgers improved to 2-1-0 all-time against Oakland, including a 2-0-0 mark against the Grizzlies at the Panther Invitational ... Brandon Miller's goal was the sixth of his career and his first since finding the net in a 4-1 win over Penn State on Oct. 26, 2008 ... senior Scott Lorenz will appear in his 50th-consecutive game for the Badgers when he takes the field Sunday against UC Santa Barbara ... Lorenz also has started 43 consecutive matches for UW ... senior Alex Horwath, who made his 27th-consecutive start in goal, moved into a tie for eighth place on the Badgers all-time wins list with the 17th victory of his career ... junior Jon Rzepka made his first start since Oct. 20, 2007 ... freshman defender Kyle McCrudden became the fourth player to make his UW debut this season when he entered the game as a substitute in the first half ... McCrudden tallied one shot in 36 minutes of action

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