WAVE NOTEBOOK: FRESH LEGS HELP WITH BACK-TO-BACK GAMES
MILWAUKEE (Feb. 27) — Coaches preach about focusing only on the next game, but when you play two games within 20 hours, it's not always easy.
The Milwaukee Wave close their regular season this weekend with two games at the U.S. Cellular Arena, one right behind the other. After playing at 6 p.m. Saturday against St. Louis, the team turns right around and welcomes Missouri at 2 p.m. Sunday.
It's a good thing we've got depth,” said Wave coach Keith Tozer. “We're healthy now, so I've got 20 fresh players, so … I can pick and choose who will play (and who will rest).”
Double weekends are not unusual in the MISL — Milwaukee has done it twice this year, once sweeping, once splitting. Baltimore won three times in four days last weekend, and Tozer can remember seasons when the schedule was often condensed that way. So he's not fazed at all, even knowing the prep time for the Sunday game is short.
Not playing for a week, I think playing the night before, getting your touch, getting your legs beneath you, can be advantageous,” he said.
Victor's Impact: Milwaukee lost three outstanding defenders after last season in Joe Hammes, Josh Rife and JP Rodrigues, so the play of off-season signing Victor Quiroz has been immeasurably positive.
Quiroz won an MISL championship at the U.S. Cellular Arena when he was a member of La Raza de Monterrey in 2010, and he's had championship-level impact in Milwaukee. He is fifth in the league in assists and seventh in shot blocks, hasn't missed a game, is the designated sixth attacker and plays on every special team imaginable.
I thought Victor was a really good player when he first got here,” Tozer said. “Now I think he's an exceptional player.
He trains hard every day, plays every game with intensity, is a leader in the locker room … he's one of the best defenders we've had here in a long time.”
Quiroz has just three goals but the latest was memorable, a 150-foot laser lofted over Missouri goalkeeper Danny Waltman, who had advanced to midfield to take part in the attack.
Scoring Race To The End: The MISL scoring race is often an indicator of the league's MVP, and this season it will take a good weekend for Milwaukee's Ian Bennett to catch Missouri's Leo Gibson.
Gibson has 67 points, picking up slack for the injured Vahid Assadpour over the last four games. Bennett has 62, making him one of four Wave players in the league's top 10.
Third on the list is Kenardo Forbes of Syracuse with 60 points, but he has only one game remaining while Bennett and Gibson each have two.
This Week In Wave History: Michael King scored in overtime to beat Baltimore 12-10 in front of 10,509 at the Bradley Center on Feb. 28, 1998. It was the Wave's 10th consecutive victory, as they went on to win the 1998 NPSL championship in five games over the St. Louis Ambush.