The Bowling Green State University men's soccer team readies for a busy stretch of the schedule with just one game this week. The Falcons of head coach Eric Nichols return home to face Western Michigan University on Friday night (Oct. 5). The Mid-American Conference matchup is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Cochrane Field.
Following the WMU match, the Brown and Orange will begin a stretch of three games in a seven-day span with a contest at Ohio State on Wednesday, Oct. 10.
Admission for the WMU match, and for all Falcon men's and women's home regular-season action again this season, is free. Live stats for Friday night's match, as is the case with all BGSU home contests, will be available free of charge on BGSUFalcons.com.
The Falcons are coming off a 2-0 loss at Hartwick College on Friday night (Sept. 28). The Hawks scored one goal in each half, and both goals came off of shots that were deflected by BGSU defenders, giving Falcon goalkeeper Michael Wiest little to no chance to make the save in each case.
BGSU had a 16-11 advantage in total shot attempts over the Hawks on the night. It marked the first time in 10 games this season that the Falcons outshot the opponent.
The Falcons are 3-5-2 on the season, and BG is 0-2-0 in MAC action. The Brown and Orange suffered a 2-0 home loss to then-#7/10 Akron in the MAC opener (Sept. 22), then bounced back with a 2-1 win over Milwaukee in double overtime at Cochrane Field on Tuesday (Sept. 25), prior to the Hartwick contest.
BGSU is 2-3-1 at home, 1-1-1 on the road and 0-1-0 in neutral-site matches this year to date. Individually, sophomore Danny Baraldi leads the Falcons in scoring, with team-best totals of four goals and nine points. Junior Anthony 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 to date.
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. Junior Ryan Snashall and sophomore Vlad Lekarev each have one assist.
Lemke paces the Falcons with totals of 28 shot attempts and 12 shots on goal. Baraldi and Grant have fired 22 and 17 shots, respectively.
In goal, Wiest has played all 952-plus minutes. He has 52 saves, a goals-against average of 1.23 and three shutouts. The junior has a save percentage of .800 this year to date.
In front of Wiest, junior Sean Sikich has played every second of every match at a center-back position. Silva has played 944 of the nearly 953 minutes this fall, while freshman defender Jake Genrich has been on the pitch for 930 minutes and Baraldi 914.
The Falcons have 10 goals as a team this season. Grant's first-half goal vs. Milwaukee broke a scoreless drought of 290:39 for BG, and was the team's first goal at Cochrane Field in a span of 359:09.
Western Michigan is 7-2-2 this season to date, and the Broncos are 0-0-1 in MAC action after playing then-#17 West Virginia to a 1-1 draw in Kalamazoo on Saturday (Sept. 29). WMU got off to a 7-1-0 start to the season, then dropped a 2-1 decision at Michigan State (Sept. 21) before playing back-to-back 1-1 home matches vs. IUPUI (Sept. 25) and WVU.
The Broncos are ranked seventh in the Great Lakes Region in the latest NSCAA/Continental Tire poll, released Tuesday (Oct. 2). Individually, Marco Lobo and Shane Lyons each have four goals. Ryan Lemasters, who has a WMU-high six assists, is tied with Lobo for the team lead in points, with 10. Lyons has nine points this fall, and has scored a goal in each of the last four matches. In goal, Sean Lewis has played all but 45 minutes, and has 38 saves, three shutouts and a goals-against average of just 0.72. Head coach Stu Riddle returned 12 players from the 2011 team that went 6-12-3 overall. Last year's club went 2-2-2 in MAC regular-season action, and advanced to the championship match of the MAC Tournament for the second-straight November.
The Falcons lead WMU, 26-14-3, in the all-time series between the teams, but the Broncos have won five consecutive matches over BGSU. Last year, the Falcons met Western in the final game of the regular season, and the Broncos posted a 2-1 come-from-behind victory in Kalamazoo (Nov. 5, 2011). The last meeting at Cochrane Field saw Western score twice in a four-minute span for a 2-0 win (Oct. 1, 2010). The teams met again in 2010 in the MAC Tournament, and a second-half free kick gave WMU a 1-0 win in Akron (Nov. 12, 2010). BGSU went 24-3-2 vs. Western in the first 29 series meetings, but the Broncos are 11-2-1 vs. the Falcons over the last decade. BGSU has records of 14-4-2 at home, 11-9-1 on the road and 1-1-0 in neutral-site meetings with the Broncos.
Following the WMU match, the Falcons will begin that three-games-in-seven-days stretch with a Wednesday (Oct. 10) contest at Ohio State. BG returns home, and returns to MAC action, with a game vs. Buffalo on Saturday, Oct. 13, before hitting the road for four consecutive matches, starting with an Oct. 16 contest at IPFW.