Big Weekend for Rockets Soccer - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Big Weekend for Rockets Soccer

Posted: Updated:

Toledo (4-7-1, 2-1-1 MAC) returns to the friendly confines of Scott Park for important Mid-American Conference matches against Central Michigan and arch-rival Bowling Green this weekend. The Rockets will tangle with the Chippewas on Friday, Oct. 5 at 4:00 p.m., before taking on the arch-rival Falcons on Sunday, Oct. 7 at 1:05 p.m. The match against BGSU will be carried live on the Buckeye Cable Sports Network (BCSN). 

Friday's contest has been tabbed as "Faculty/Staff Appreciation Day," while Sunday's match has been booked as "Camper/Youth Day." UT faculty and staff will receive free admission with their University ID on Friday, and UT campers wearing their camp t-shirt will receive free admission on Sunday. Also on Sunday, groups of 10 or more can purchase tickets for $2.00 apiece, but tickets must be purchased all at once. After the match, fans can get autographs from their favorite Rockets.

With MAC play nearing the midway point this weekend, the Rockets head into a pivotal portion of the league schedule with five of their seven remaining matches, including the next four, at home. UT has compiled a stellar 57-14-7 (.776) mark at the corner of Hill Ave. and Parkside Blvd. since the start of the 2005 campaign.

There are currently seven teams with winning percentages of .500-or-better in MAC play. The top four squads in the final regular-season standings regardless of division will host teams five through eight in the quarterfinal round on Sunday, Oct. 28 at campus sites, with the highest-remaining seed among the four survivors hosting the semifinals (Nov. 4) and championship (Nov. 6). Teams earn three points for a win and a single point for a tie. If the regular season ended today, the Rockets would be tied for fourth with Ball State (5-4-3, 2-1-1 MAC). Toledo has hosted the MAC Tournament on four occasions over the last six years.

UT will look to continue its momentum from a very impressive performance last weekend on the road following a 3-0 win vs. Buffalo and a 2-1 triumph against Akron. The Rockets were explosive in the offensive third of the pitch against UB and UA and fired 20 shots in the back-to-back triumphs, as five different players found the back of the net for the first time this season. 

The 2012 MAC preseason favorites are paced by junior Rachel MacLeod, who has a team-high seven points on the season (three goals, one assist). MacLeod is supported offensively by sophomore Kirsten Catloth with three points (one goal, one assist), as well as senior Natalia Gaitan (one goal), senior Megan Blake (one goal), senior Kristen Mattei (one goal), junior Emily Tustin (one goal), sophomore Rio James (one goal), sophomore Sarah Seig (one goal), freshman Geri Siudzinski (one goal) and senior Rachael Kravitz (two assists) with two points each. Toledo's offense was hitting on all cylinders last weekend and posted five goals, nearly doubling its total output to 11 markers on the season.

As a team, UT is tied for seventh in the league in corner kicks (45), ninth in goals, 10th in total points (29), tied for 10th in helpers (7) and 11th in shots (125).

On defense, the Rockets have tightened up the reins quite a bit as of late and allowed only five goals over the last five matches, including posting a pair of shutouts. Sophomore Brooke Lawler, freshman Angelica Hernandez, Gaitan, Blake, Kravitz and Catloth are anchoring the defensive front and this group is really starting to play well together.

Between the posts, sophomore Kelsey Borowitz (2-5-1 mark) looks to nail down the starting job after playing well in all 180 minutes last weekend. Borowitz has accumulated 723:35 minutes on the backline, giving up 12 scores (1.49 GAA) with 25 stops.

As a unit, UT is tied for sixth in the MAC in shutouts (4), tied for ninth in goals allowed (16) and 10th in goals-against average (1.29). 

Central Michigan enters Friday's contest with a 7-4-1 overall record and a 3-1-0 conference mark. The Chippewas come off a weekend in which they claimed a 1-0 triumph at Western Michigan and a 2-0 setback at MAC West Division frontrunner Eastern Michigan. They are led offensively by Jennifer Gassman and Laura Twidle with five points (two goals, one assist) each. A total of nine Central Michigan players have scored a goal so far this season. In goal, Stefanie Turner has started 10 matches and ranks fourth in the conference in save percentage (.800) and sixth in GAA (0.98). As a team, CMU is tied for first in the MAC in shutouts (6), third in shots (187), fifth in goals (13), sixth in total points (36), seventh in goals allowed (14) and GAA (1.15) and tied for seventh in assists (10) and corners (45). UT leads the all-time series, 5-4-6, and is unbeaten (3-0-1 record) in the last four meetings between the division rivals at Scott Park, dating back to 2003. Last fall, CMU's Ashley Mejilla scored a goal in the 76th minute to give the home team a 1-0 victory.

Bowling Green, which plays at Northern Illinois on Friday before traveling to Toledo, begin the weekend with a 1-10-1 overall mark, 0-3-1 in the MAC. Last weekend, the Falcons dropped a pair of road matches, suffering a 2-1 setback at Eastern Michigan on Friday and a 1-0 loss at Western Michigan two days later to extend their winless stretch to nine consecutive matches. Sidney Huth leads the squad with five points (two goals, one assist). BGSU has rotated two goalies with Jenna Underwood and Becca Ison making six starts each. As a unit, BGSU is seventh in shots (148), 10th in corners (38), tied for 10th in assists (7), tied for 11th in shutouts (1) and 12th in total points (19), goals (6), goals allowed (26) and GAA (2.12). The Rockets lead the all-time series, 8-7-4, and are in the midst of a six-match unbeaten stretch (4-0-2), dating back to 2007. A season ago, UT's MacLeod found the back of the net in the 70th minute to lift the visitors to a 1-0 triumph.