The Bowling Green State University men's soccer team, having wrapped up a three-match homestand with a double-overtime win, takes to the road this weekend. The Falcons of head coach Eric Nichols return to Mid-American Conference play with a Friday (Sept. 28) match against Hartwick College. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Elmore Field in Oneonta, N.Y.
The Falcons are coming off a 2-1, double-overtime win over the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee on Tuesday night (Sept. 25) at Cochrane Field. Junior Anthony Grant and sophomore Danny Baraldi scored BG's goals, with Grant scoring in the first half and Baraldi converting a penalty kick in the second OT period. Baraldi had an assist on Grant's goal, for a three-point night. Junior Ryan Snashall picked up the primary assist on that marker, slotting a nifty pass across the penalty area to a wide-open Grant at the far post.
UWM's three previous losses had come to teams (Marquette, Xavier and Northwestern) who had a combined record of 20-0-4 entering the week. The Panthers entered the match ranked 10th in the Great Lakes Region in the NSCAA/Continental Tire poll, and UWM was listed 46th by Top Drawer Soccer, which attempts to predict the NCAA Tournament qualifiers with a Tournament 48 listing.
The Falcons are 3-4-2 on the season, and BG is 0-1-0 in MAC action. The Brown and Orange suffered a 2-0 home loss to #7/10 Akron in Saturday's (Sept. 22) league opener, prior to bouncing back with the win over Milwaukee.
BGSU is 2-3-1 at home, 1-0-1 on the road and 0-1-0 in neutral-site matches this year to date. Individually, Baraldi leads the Falcons in scoring, with team-best totals of four goals and nine points. Grant has six points on two goals and a pair of assists, while freshman Ryan James has four points, including a goal and two assists. Senior Zach Lemke has scored three points this year.
Three different BGSU players have two points apiece. That list includes juniors Brandon Silva and Ryan Comiskey, each of whom have one goal, and senior Chris McLean, who has recorded a pair of assists. Snashall and sophomore Vlad Lekarev each have one assist.
Lemke paces the Falcons with totals of 21 shot attempts and 10 shots on goal. Baraldi and Grant have fired 18 and 17 shots, respectively.
In goal, junior Michael Wiest has played all 862-plus minutes. He has 48 saves, a goals-against average of 1.15 and three shutouts. The junior has a save percentage of .814 this year to date.
In front of Wiest, junior Sean Sikich has played all 863-plus minutes at a center-back position. Silva has played 854 minutes this fall, while freshman defender Jake Genrich has been on the pitch for 840 minutes and Baraldi 829.
The Falcons have 10 goals as a team this season. Grant's goal vs. Milwaukee broke a scoreless drought of 290:39 for BG, and it was the team's first goal at Cochrane Field in a span of 359:09.
Hartwick will enter Friday's match with an overall record of 2-3-2, and the BGSU contest will be the MAC opener for the Hawks. HC will be looking to reverse a two-game losing streak, with the most recent match being a 4-1 loss to No. 22 Cornell on Tuesday night (Sept. 25). The Hawks have wins over Saint Bonaventure and NJIT, ties vs. Bradley and Mercer and losses to Saint Joseph's and Robert Morris, in addition to Cornell.
Cleyon Brown leads the team with four goals and nine points, while David Styles has six points this year, including a team-leading four assists. In goal, Mateo Munarriz has started five of the seven matches, and has 22 saves, one shutout and a 1.14 GAA. Head coach John Scott welcomed back seven starters from last year's team that went 5-6-5 overall and 1-2-3 in the MAC.
The Falcons lead Hartwick, 2-1-3, in the all-time series between the teams, and BGSU has a three-game unbeaten streak against the Hawks. Last year, the Falcons and Hartwick battled to a 1-1, double-overtime tie, in the first-ever night game at Cochrane Field for the BGSU men's soccer program (Oct. 22, 2011). Two years ago, in the last trip to Oneonta, N.Y., the Falcons got a second-half goal for a 1-0 win (Oct. 16, 2010). BG is 2-1-0 in games vs. Hartwick in Oneonta, and each of the three meetings in Bowling Green has ended in a tie. After a 1-0 BGSU win in 1984, the teams did not play again until Hartwick became an affiliate member of the MAC in 2007. The Falcons and Hawks each have scored a total of seven goals in the six series meetings.
Following the Hartwick match, the Falcons will have a week off until the next game, as BG returns home to face Western Michigan on Friday, Oct. 5.