By Jimmy Carlton Sportswriter Published Jan 27, 2017 at 3:29 PM

Coming off a big win over the Baltimore Blast, the defending Major Arena Soccer League champions, the Wave have another tough test coming up this weekend at UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena.

The six-time indoor league champions host the Cedar Rapids Rampage (10-4), who is in first place in the MASL Central Division, one game and two spots ahead of Milwaukee (9-5) in the standings. Kickoff is Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m., and there’s no Green Bay Packers game to compete for local sports attention.

"The entire team is well aware of how important this game is to our season," said head coach Giuliano Oliviero. "This game for us is a playoff game. We’re still playing from behind, but if we get the result we want Sunday, it puts us in a tie for second place. I think we’re ready for it, and we’ll all be putting our best foot forward."

Besides the game’s playoff implications, Sunday is also Milwaukee’s "Not So Scary" Halloween Party. That’s right; Halloween in January.

The Wave is calling all young soccer-lovers to come out to the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena dressed up and ready to take part in pregame trick-or-treating to get some candy in the concourse from 1 to 1:45 p.m.

There will also be the famous mascot game at halftime, as well as, of course, the free 20-minute autograph session with the whole team on the field after the game. Fans can also enjoy $2 sodas and $2 beers at Red Leine's Hut.

The charity for Sunday’s game is March of Dimes. Wave game tickets are available at or at the box office.

The Wave, currently in third place in the MASL Central Division, is currently on a five-game winning streak. Milwaukee has a 5-1 record at home. The Wave is led in scoring by forward Ian Bennett, who has 36 goals and seven assists. His 43 points are third-most in MASL and his 13 power play goals rank first. Fellow forward Max Ferdinand is second on the team in points, with 36, and his 21 assists lead the league. Forward Robert Renaud has 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points.

Besides Bennett – who was named to the MASL’s Team of the Week after he had a four-goal weekend, with two goals in each of the Wave’s two victories – another Milwaukee player to watch is Chad Vandegriffe. The defender was also named to the league’s team of the week for Week 13, when he totaled seven blocks, had an assist and helped limit Baltimore and St. Louis to a combined five goals in the wins.

Check out the highlights from the Wave’s 7-2 win over the Blast last week at the UW-Milwaukee Panther Arena below.

Born in Milwaukee but a product of Shorewood High School (go ‘Hounds!) and Northwestern University (go ‘Cats!), Jimmy never knew the schoolboy bliss of cheering for a winning football, basketball or baseball team. So he ditched being a fan in order to cover sports professionally - occasionally objectively, always passionately. He's lived in Chicago, New York and Dallas, but now resides again in his beloved Brew City and is an ardent attacker of the notorious Milwaukee Inferiority Complex.

After interning at print publications like Birds and Blooms (official motto: "America's #1 backyard birding and gardening magazine!"), Sports Illustrated (unofficial motto: "Subscribe and save up to 90% off the cover price!") and The Dallas Morning News (a newspaper!), Jimmy worked for web outlets like, where he was a Packers beat reporter, and FOX Sports Wisconsin, where he managed digital content. He's a proponent and frequent user of em dashes, parenthetical asides, descriptive appositives and, really, anything that makes his sentences longer and more needlessly complex.

Jimmy appreciates references to late '90s Brewers and Bucks players and is the curator of the unofficial John Jaha Hall of Fame. He also enjoys running, biking and soccer, but isn't too annoying about them. He writes about sports - both mainstream and unconventional - and non-sports, including history, music, food, art and even golf (just kidding!), and welcomes reader suggestions for off-the-beaten-path story ideas.