DEKALB, ILL. - Junior goalkeeper Michael Wiest made eight saves as the Bowling Green State University men's soccer team battled Northern Illinois University to a 0-0 draw on Saturday afternoon (Oct. 20). The double-overtime Mid-American Conference match was held at the NIU Soccer and Track & Field Complex.
Wiest posted his fifth shutout of the season for the Falcons, who are now 5-7-3 overall and 2-2-1 in MAC action. The Huskies are 3-8-3 and 2-1-1, respectively.
For Wiest, the shutout was the 11th of his career. He had six clean sheets last season for the Brown and Orange.
At the other end of the pitch, NIU's Jordan Godsey made four saves on the afternoon. The Huskies outshot the Falcons, 16-10, and NIU was credited with a 10-4 advantage in shots on goal.
The match featured a total of 31 fouls and 10 yellow cards, with the Huskies being cited for 16 of the fouls and six of the cautions.
The hosts controlled play over the first 15 minutes of the match, with a total of five shots during that time, including two on goal. The Falcons' first shot attempt came in the 18th minute of play, when junior Sean Sikich played a long free kick from near midfield into the box. Fifth-year senior Zach Lemke got a head on it, but Godsey grabbed the ball out of midair.
The Falcons just missed hooking up on several plays midway through the half. Junior Anthony Grant nearly caught up to a through ball, but it was just out of his reach, and Godsey got to it first. Then, Grant won the ball on the left side of the field near the end line moments later, and slid a pass back to junior Zach Schewee. Schewee attempted to play a short diagonal ball toward the far post, but his effort was blocked by a Huskie defender.
At the half-hour mark, Wiest made a nice save on James Stevenson, then grabbed the ensuing corner kick in traffic to end that NIU threat.
Each team had chances, but no shots, over the next few minutes. Northern's Karim Darbaki's low cross rolled through the box untouched, and a crossing ball by BG sophomore Danny Baraldi sailed just out of Grant's reach.
With several minutes left in the half, a series of passes by the Falcons got the ball into the 18-yard box, but a shot by junior Ryan Comiskey was blocked into the air as it left his foot, and the ball reached Godsey before Comiskey could get to the rebound.
Just over a minute remained before the break when Baraldi slid a pass to his right. Lemke ran onto the ball and hit a hard shot that went just high. The Falcons had the better of the play, with more possession time and greater amounts of sustained offensive pressure then the hosts over the final 15-20 minutes of the half, but the teams were scoreless heading into the intermission.
BGSU looked to continue that offensive pressure as the second half began. But, the Falcons were whistled offside within the first 30 seconds of the half, then a Baraldi shot was blocked.
With four minutes gone in the half, NIU had a dangerous chance against the run of play. But, after Wiest fell to the ground trying to grab a cross in traffic, a shot by Isaac Kannah was blocked by Schewee near the goal line, with the Falcons credited with a 'team save' on the play.
Just 40 seconds later, the Falcons had a chance, as Grant hit a shot from a sharp angle in the box. The ball was on frame, but Godsey was able to grab it for the save.
BG got the ball right back, and the Falcons made another foray deep into the NIU end. But, the visitors were whistled for offside again to end that threat.
In the 55th minute, Grant fired a shot that forced Godsey to make a leaping save. The NIU 'keeper knocked the ball away, and the Huskies were able to clear it out of the box.
Midway through the half, Northern's Matt Pritchard got his head on a long free kick, putting a shot on goal. But, Wiest saw the play all the way and was in perfect position to make the save.
Wiest corralled another Northern free kick in the 75th minute, and his outlet pass began a quick Falcon counterattack. That play, however, ended with a hard Comiskey shot that went wide.
Ten minutes remained in regulation when a long NIU throw-in went to Pat Sloan in the box, but his shot attempt sailed well over the crossbar.
With under seven minutes remaining, a shot by Pritchard was blocked by a BG defender near the far post. BG countered with a Ryan Snashall shot a minute later, but Godsey made the stop. Then, Wiest saved a pair of Kannah shots within a 40-second span, and the teams headed to overtime.
The Falcons had the only two shot attempts of the first 10-minute OT session. Nearly four minutes in, Grant made a nifty cutback move on the right side of the box and hit a shot toward the near post, but it was blocked out of bounds. Grant had the other shot attempt in that period, as NIU was called for a foul (and given a yellow card) with just 14 seconds left in the OT. But, the junior's ensuing free kick was blocked, and the teams headed to a second overtime.
In the second overtime, Baraldi just missed connections with Grant on a through ball, as the pass was just out of reach of the junior. Moments later, the Falcons were called for a foul just outside the box on the left side, near the end line. The ensuing free kick was played into the box, and the Brown and Orange momentarily had some trouble clearing the ball, but Weist eventually grabbed a low-percentage shot attempt by Pritchard.
With just over a minute on the clock, Grant made a long run downfield, taking the ball into the box on the right side. But, his shot sailed high. That would prove to be the last shot of the game.
The Falcons will continue a season-long, four-match road swing, heading to Ann Arbor on Tuesday (Oct. 23) to face the University at Michigan. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. After a game at Florida Atlantic next Friday night (Oct. 26), the Brown and Orange will close the regular season with home matches vs. Wright State (Oct. 30) and West Virginia (Nov. 3).