The Bowling Green State University men's soccer team, for the third consecutive week, will step outside of Mid-American Conference play for a midweek matchup before returning to league action on the weekend. The Falcons of head coach Eric Nichols continue a season-long, four-match road swing with a short trip north on Tuesday (Oct. 23), taking on the University of Michigan. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at the U-M Soccer Stadium.
Following the Michigan match, the Brown and Orange will fly south for a Friday night (Oct. 26) matchup with Florida Atlantic University. The Falcons and Owls will meet in a 7:00 p.m. start at the FAU Soccer Stadium.
Live stats for both of this week's matches will be available, free of charge, at the respective web sites of BGSU's opponents, MGoBlue.com for Tuesday's match and FAUsports.com for Friday's contest. Links to both matches will be available via BGSUFalcons.com, or by clicking the links above.
Additionally, Tuesday's U-M game will be streamed live as a Big Ten Network Student U production. The game will be available on the web at BTN.com, for a fee. The BGSU-Michigan match also will be shown via tape delay on the Big Ten Network on Thursday (Oct. 25) at 1:00 p.m. The link to the live streaming will be available at BGSUFalcons.com.
The Falcons began the current four-game road swing last week, with a disappointing 2-1 loss at IPFW on Tuesday (Oct. 16). Junior Anthony Grant gave the Falcons the lead in the 34th minute, but the Mastodons tied the match on a penalty kick less than a minute before halftime. Then, Jackson Tooke scored with just over nine minutes left in the second half to give IPFW just their second win of the season. Junior Michael Wiest had six saves for the Brown and Orange.
On Saturday (Oct. 20), the Falcons battled host Northern Illinois to a 0-0, double-overtime draw in DeKalb. Wiest had eight saves en route to the shutout.
For Wiest, the clean sheet was his fifth of the season and the 11th of his career. He has a career goals-against average of 1.10 in just over 2,500 minutes played.
Saturday's match marked only the second time the Falcons have gotten a result against the Huskies on the road. BGSU is now 1-9-1 in matches played in DeKalb. Prior to Saturday, the Brown and Orange had lost six-straight matches to the Huskies, and the Falcons had dropped four consecutive games in DeKalb. This year's match was the first-ever tie in the history of the series, spanning 25 meetings.
The Falcons are 5-7-3 overall and 2-2-1 in MAC action. BGSU has MAC wins over UB and Western Michigan, and the Falcons' conference losses have come to Akron at home and Hartwick on the road. In addition to this weekend's FAU match, BG's remaining MAC action consists of a home date with West Virginia on Nov. 3.
BGSU is 4-3-1 at home, 1-3-2 on the road and 0-1-0 in neutral-site matches this year to date.
Individually, Grant and sophomore Danny Baraldi are tied for the team lead in scoring, with 14 points apiece. Grant leads the Falcons with six goals, while Baraldi has five goals and a team-leading four assists.
Baraldi has 32 career points in 32 games at BG. Grant is nearly on that point-per-game pace, as his 14 points have come in 15 matches in his first season at BGSU. Grant leads the team with 37 total shot attempts and 18 shots on goal in 2012.
Grant (three) and Baraldi (two) have combined for all five of the Falcons' game-winning goals this fall to date. Grant's total of three GWG is the highest by a BG player since Chuko Evwaraye scored three winners in the 2007 season. No Falcon player has had more than three GWG since Bobby Biggs had six in 1997.
Fifth-year senior Zach Lemke has five points on the year, with a goal and three assists, while junior Ryan Comiskey and freshman Ryan James each have four points this season. Redshirt junior Brandon Silva and junior Ryan Snashall have three points apiece this fall to date.
In goal, Wiest has played all 1422-plus minutes. He has 81 saves, a goals-against average of 1.14 and five shutouts. The junior has a save percentage of .818.
In front of Wiest, junior Sean Sikich has played every second of every match at a center-back position. Silva has played 1414 of the nearly 1423 minutes this fall, while freshman defender Jake Genrich has been on the pitch for 1395 minutes and Lemke 1302. Genrich, Sikich, Silva and Wiest are the only players to have started all 15 matches for the Falcons this year to date.
Michigan enters the week with an overall record of 5-7-1, and the Wolverines are 2-2-1 in Big Ten Conference play. U-M snapped a two-game losing streak in a big way over the weekend, posting a 2-1 win on the road against #11 Indiana Friday night (Oct. 19). That came three days after a 1-0 loss to another ranked team, Akron.
Individually, Fabio Pereira paces the Wolverines with nine points, including a team-leading five assists. Tyler Arnone and T.J. Roehn each have seven points this fall. Arnone leads U-M with three goals, while Roehn has a pair of goals and three assists. Adam Grinwis has played every second in goal this year, and has 65 saves, two shutouts and a 1.32 GAA. First-year head coach Chaka Daley inherited 13 letterwinners from last year's team that went 5-14-1 overall and 1-5-0 in the Big Ten.
The Falcons trail Michigan, 6-3-0, in the all-time series between the teams. BGSU won the first two series meetings, then dropped the next six matchups with the Wolverines. Last year, however, Danny Baraldi and Ryan Snashall scored second-half goals as the Falcons posted a 2-0 win at Cochrane Field in the season opener for both teams (Aug. 26, 2011). Michael Wiest, making his first collegiate start, had five saves in goal. U-M had entered the match ranked ninth in the nation in the NSCAA's preseason poll. Prior to last year's meeting, the Wolverines had scored at least four goals in each of the previous five series matchups, including 5-1 victories in Ann Arbor in both 2009 and '10. BGSU is 2-1-0 in home games and 1-5-0 in road matches with the Wolverines, and U-M has captured five-straight meetings in Ann Arbor since the Falcons' lone win there, in 2001.
A number of firsts in Wiest's career have come against Michigan. The junior made the first appearance of his collegiate tenure vs. the Wolverines, two years ago in Ann Arbor (Oct. 27, 2010), playing the final 29-plus minutes of that match. The BGSU-Michigan 2011 meeting marked Wiest's first collegiate start, his first win and the first shutout of his Falcon career. He also recorded his first collegiate save that night.
Florida Atlantic has an overall mark of 2-10-1, and the Owls are 0-5-0 in the MAC heading into Friday's match with the Falcons. FAU is coming off a 1-0 loss at Buffalo last Friday (Oct. 19), despite outshooting the Bulls by a 16-9 count. The Owls are 1-2-1 at home this fall. All seven of the team's goals this season to date have come in non-conference play.
FAU's wins this season have come at home against Howard (1-0; Oct. 14) and at Jacksonville (3-0; Aug. 31), and the Owls played to a scoreless draw vs. UMKC in Boca (Sept. 14). Roberto Rivera and Deniz Bozkurt each have four points on two goals, and each player has one game-winning goal in '12. Jeremy Crumpton has started 12 of the Owls' 13 matches in goal, and has 50 saves, two shutouts and a 1.97 GAA. Kos Donev is in his 25th year as head coach of his alma mater. Last year, FAU went 5-8-2 overall and 0-5-1 in MAC play.
The Falcons lead FAU, 4-1-0, in that series, and BG has captured three consecutive meetings. Last season, BGSU scored twice within the first four minutes of the second half to break open a one-goal game en route to a 3-0 win at Cochrane Field (Oct. 2, 2011). Danny Baraldi scored just 19 seconds into the second half of that match, and the BG defense did not allow a single shot on goal. Two years ago, in the last meeting in Boca Raton, the Falcons got goals from Joey D'Agostino and Ryan Comiskey in a 2-1 win (Nov. 6, 2010). The teams entered that match knowing that the winner would qualify for the MAC Tournament. BGSU is 2-0-0 in home games and 2-1-0 in road matches vs. the Owls.
Following this week's two matches, the Falcons return home for two games to end the regular season. BGSU will host Wright State on Tuesday, Oct. 30, before facing MAC affiliate member West Virginia on Saturday, Nov. 3. Both the WSU and WVU matches will begin at 7:00 p.m. at Cochrane Field. The top four teams in the final MAC regular-season standings will advance to the MAC Tournament, with semifinal matches on Nov. 9 and the championship set for Nov. 11.