BOWLING GREEN, Ohio – The Bowling Green State University women's soccer team begins a season-long four-game homestand with a pair of matches at Cochrane Field this weekend. The Falcons of interim head coach Kellie Evans host Illinois State University on Friday night (Sept. 14), with kickoff scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
Then, on Sunday afternoon (Sept. 16), the Brown and Orange will face Loyola University Chicago in a 1:00 p.m. start. This weekend's matches wrap up the non-conference portion of BGSU's 2012 schedule.
The Falcons played both of this weekend's opponents last season, as BG made a season-opening trip to Chicago and Normal, Ill., last August. Those meetings marked BGSU's first with both the Ramblers and the Redbirds.
Admission for this weekend's matches, and for all Falcon men's and women's home regular-season action again this season, is free. Live stats for the matches will be available via BGSUFalcons.com.
Evans will see some familiar faces on the opposing bench on Friday night, as she coached at Illinois State prior to coming to BGSU. Evans served as an assistant coach with the Redbirds for two seasons, helping head coach Drew Roff's team to the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season and tournament championships in 2009. That season, Evans and the rest of the staff were voted the MVC Coaching Staff of the Year. She joined BGSU as the assistant coach prior to the 2011 season, prior to assuming the interim head-coaching job in February of 2012.
The Falcons are looking to snap a three-match losing streak, including a 3-0 loss at Valparaiso in the team's only match last week. That Sunday (Sept. 9) contest was tied at the half, but the host Crusaders took the lead in the 54th minute, then got a pair of goals off of corner kicks in the final 10 minutes of the contest to salt away the victory.
Junior Tracy Togba leads the Falcons with three points on the year, on a goal and an assist. Junior Madeline Wideman, sophomore Sidney Huth and freshman Jessica Jarvis each have one goal for two total points, while freshman Demy Whitaker also has two points on a pair of assists.
In goal, fifth-year senior Becca Ison has started all six matches, and has 25 saves and a goals-against average of 2.90 to date. Freshman Jenna Underwood made her collegiate debut in the Minnesota match on Aug. 30, playing the last 19-plus minutes of the contest.
A total of 17 different players have started at least one match for Evans and assistant coach Bubby Leasure this season to date. Five of those players – Ison, Wideman, fifth-year senior Leah Johnson, junior Alyssa Carmack and sophomore Kaylee Draper – have started all six matches this fall.
Illinois State will bring a 3-2-2 record into Friday's match, but the Redbirds will be looking to snap a two-game losing streak. After going through the first five matches without a loss, ISU dropped one-goal matches to Western Michigan (2-1) and 15th-ranked Wisconsin (3-2) on back-to-back Sundays, with the loss to the Badgers coming in double overtime. The Redbirds have wins over Southeast Missouri, Florida Atlantic and Northern Illinois this year to date, along with ties against No. 19 Illlinois and Florida Gulf Coast.
Sophomore Rachel Tejada, the MVC Player of the Year as a freshman in 2011, has picked up right where she left off. Tejada has nine goals and 19 points through seven games this fall, after scoring a conference-record 21 goals a year ago. Aryn Newsom has started six of the Redbirds' seven matches in goal this year, and has 29 saves and a GAA of 1.37. Roff welcomed back seven starters from last year's team that went 13-6-0 overall and 5-1-0 in MVC play. The team won the conference regular-season and tournament titles and advanced to the NCAA Tournament.
The Falcons trail Illinois State, 1-0-0, in the all-time series between the teams. The only previous meeting came last season (Aug. 21, 2011), as the Redbirds roared back from a two-goal halftime deficit for a 5-2 victory. Kaylee Draper scored the Falcons' second goal of the match, while Becca Ison had a career-high 11 saves for the Brown and Orange. Kyla Cross scored twice for the home team, while Tejada had a goal and a pair of assists.
Loyola has a 3-4-0 record on the season, heading into a home match against South Dakota on Friday night. The Ramblers have played six of the season's first seven matches on the road. Last weekend, Loyola snapped a four-game losing streak with a pair of 2-1 overtime wins, downing Yale at home on Friday (Sept. 7) and Western Michigan on the road on Sunday (Sept. 9). Ana Claudia Michelini scored a goal in each of the two matches and was named Horizon League Offensive Player of the Week on Monday (Sept. 10).
Michelini is the lone Loyola player with more than one goal on the season. In goal, Monica Gonyo has played in six of the team's seven matches, and has 27 saves and a 2.01 GAA. Head coach Barry Bimbi welcomed back 10 starters from last year's team that finished 6-10-3 overall and 2-4-2 in league play.
The Falcons trail Loyola, 1-0-0, in that series. Last season, the Ramblers benefitted from an own goal midway through the first half, posting a 1-0 win in Chicago in the season opener for both teams (Aug. 19, 2011). That match came two days before the Falcons' match against ISU.
Following this weekend's matches, the Falcons will remain home to begin Mid-American Conference action. BGSU will host Ohio on Friday, Sept. 21, before meeting Kent State two days later (Sept. 23).
ADDITIONAL FALCON NOTES
• For the second time in as many years at BG, sophomore Kaylee Draper played a match against her twin sister. Kelsey Draper is a sophomore at Valparaiso, and like her sister, has started every match for her team this fall. Both Draper sisters wear uniform number 16.
• Draper leads all BGSU field players with 491 minutes played this season, followed by junior Alyssa Carmack (456) and redshirt junior Jenny Fowler (407). Goalkeeper Becca Ison has been on the pitch for 527 of the Falcons' 546-plus minutes this fall.
• Carmack went over the 4,000-minute mark for her career in Sunday's Valparaiso match. The junior leads all active Falcons with a total of 4,008 minutes played.