WAVE NOTEBOOK: FITNESS HELPS KEEP INJURIES AWAY

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MILWAUKEE (Feb. 19) — You could find many reasons for the Milwaukee Wave's 14-2 record, best in the MISL, but don't overlook the personal training work added to the team's training regimen.

The team's top eight scorers have missed a combined three games. Marcelo Fontana, age 40, has missed one game. Giuliano Oliviero, who turns 40 next week, has missed none. Only the hand injury that placed goalkeeper Nick Vorberg on injured reserve could be described as significant.

Luck plays a part, for sure, but Wave Coach Keith Tozer is excited about the training sessions with Sarah Addeo the team has added twice a week at Elite Fitness.

“It was like pulling teeth for a while with the guys,” Tozer said of adding the workouts, which sometimes follow the two-hour on-field training sessions. “Even on days when we didn't have training, it was like pulling teeth.”

The players may not love it, but the results speak for themselves. Addeo focuses on strength and core training, with a program mapped out from the beginning of the season through playoffs.

“We're fitter than last year, stronger than last year,” Tozer said.

They're also better, with an .875 winning percentage and a 17.1 points-per-game average.

Thirty is a rarity: One last word about that 30-point outburst against Pennsylvania last Sunday. It was just the fifth time in team history that Milwaukee cracked the 30-point mark. The others:

  • Dec 31, 1999 vs. St. Louis, 32-10

  • Dec. 6, 1998 vs. Cleveland Crunch, 37-5

  • Nov. 18, 1995 vs. Canton Invaders, 30-7

  • Jan. 14, 1996 vs. Chicago Power, 35-5

In single-point scoring eras, the Wave tallied 16 goals against the Columbus Capitals on Nov. 3, 1985 and 15 goals against the Kansas City Comets in single-point scoring on Nov. 14, 2003.

Going for 20: The Wave has won 19 consecutive regular-season home games. The last team to beat the Wave here — the Missouri Comets, who come to town on Sunday for a 2 p.m. contest. They have proven a difficult matchup for the Wave, with a high-pressure style backed up by acrobatic Danny Waltman.

Milwaukee won 27 consecutive home games over three seasons from 2001-02. The team that broke the streak? The Kansas City Comets, of course, 9-7 on Nov. 8, 2002.

Playoff update: Milwaukee has a solid, though far from permanent, grasp on the No. 1 seed. The Wave lead Baltimore by one game and hold the tiebreaker over the Blast with each team having four to play. After visiting expansion St. Louis on Friday, the Wave conclude with three at home, though two are against Kansas City.

The Comets (10-6) and Syracuse (10-7) both are in the postseason. The Silver Knights have the tiebreaker over Kansas City, having won both regular-season meetings.

No. 1 plays No. 4 and No. 2 meets No. 3 in two-game semifinals series. Milwaukee hosts its leg on Monday, March 10 at 7 p.m.

This Week in Wave History: Milwaukee thumped the St. Louis Ambush 21-3 and Wichita Wings 19-9 on consecutive nights, Feb. 19-20, 2000 at the Bradley Center. The games pushed the Wave's winning streak to 10 games, the longest of the season. Milwaukee finished with a 31-13 regular-season record and won the NPSL championship.

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