BOWLING GREEN - The Bowling Green State University women's soccer team returns home to play one final match in the 2012 regular season. The Falcons of interim head coach Kellie Evans will host Mid-American Conference West Division-leading Central Michigan University on Thursday afternoon (Oct. 25). Kickoff is scheduled for 3:00 p.m. at Cochrane Field.
Admission for the CMU match, as is the case for all Falcon men's and women's home regular-season action again this season, is free. Live stats for Thursday's game will be available via BGSUFalcons.com.
The Falcons are 1-16-1 overall, and BG is 0-9-1 in MAC play, but the Brown and Orange played a pair of inspired matches on the road last weekend, against two of the top-five teams in the MAC standings. On Friday (Oct. 19), the Falcons fell by a 1-0 score in double overtime at Ball State, as the Cardinals' Skylar Chew scored on a rebound with just 35 seconds left in the second OT. Falcon freshman Jenna Underwood had 12 saves in goal, shattering her previous single-game high.
On Sunday (Oct. 21), the Brown and Orange took the lead on league-leading Miami in Oxford, and BG was a goal up on the RedHawks with 20 minutes left. But, the hosts rallied for a 3-1 win, clinching the MAC's regular-season title in the process. Freshman Demy Whitaker scored the Falcons' goal, heading home a free kick by redshirt sophomore Amanda Nelson in the 51st minute. Underwood again made 12 saves, including several spectacular stops for the second-straight match.
Whitaker's goal at Miami was the first of her collegiate career, and Nelson's assist on that goal marked her first point as a Falcon.
Underwood's total of 12 saves at BSU was the highest by a BGSU goalkeeper in over four years, since Alexa Arsenault had 13 stops in a match at Cincinnati on Aug. 22, 2008. Two days later, obviously, Underwood matched that total against Miami.
Additionally, Underwood was just one away from tying the school record for saves in a MAC match. That record of 13 was set by Erika Flanders at Buffalo 11 years ago (Sept. 23, 2001).
Sophomore Sidney Huth leads the Falcons in scoring this season, with seven points on three goals and an assist. Junior Madeline Wideman has five points, including a pair of goals, while Whitaker and fellow freshman Jessica Jarvis each have four points. Jarvis has a pair of goals, while Whitaker has a team-leading two assists in addition to the goal at MU. Junior Tracy Togba has scored three points this fall.
In goal, Underwood has made 12 starts this season, including all 10 MAC matches to date. She has a total of 64 saves and a goals-against average of 1.73 in her initial season with the Falcons. Underwood currently ranks fourth in the MAC in saves and third in saves per game (4.92). Fifth-year senior Becca Ison has made six starts this year, and has 25 saves and a 2.83 GAA.
In MAC matches, Underwood has 55 saves and a 1.61 GAA. She has played all but 45 minutes of the 10 MAC contests, and has a saves percentage of .775 in league play. The Goodrich, Mich., native had a saves percentage of .857 in last weekend's two matches.
Junior defender Alyssa Carmack leads the Falcons in minutes played, having been on the pitch for 1639 of the team's 1665-plus minutes this fall. Sophomore Kaylee Draper and redshirt soph Kylie Briem have played 1525 and 1288 minutes, respectively, while redshirt junior Jenny Fowler has seen a total of 1243 minutes of playing time. Sophomore Ashley Garr has played 1185 minutes this season.
Carmack and Draper are the only two Falcons to have started all 18 matches this season to date. Nelson made her first start of the season on Sunday at Miami, becoming the 21st different BGSU player to start at least one match this year.
Wideman has a career total of 19 points to lead active Falcons. She paces all members of the 2012 team with nine career assists, and has five goals at BGSU. Huth, who has nearly doubled her point total from last season, is tied with Wideman for the active career lead with five goals. She had four points on a pair of goals in 2011.
Central Michigan will enter Thursday's match with an overall record of 12-5-1, and the Chippewas are 8-2-0 in MAC action. CMU has clinched at least a tie for the MAC's West Division title, and the Chippewas would be the second seed for the league tournament if the season ended today. Central is ranked 32nd in the latest RPI rankings (released Monday), the highest standing of any conference school.
Last weekend, the Chippewas saw a four-game winning streak come to an end with a 1-0, double-OT loss to Miami at home on Friday, but CMU bounced back with a 2-0 victory at Ball State on Sunday. Central's only MAC losses have come to Eastern Michigan and MU.
Jennifer Gassman and Danielle Rotheram lead a balanced scoring attack with nine points apiece. Gassman has a team-high four goals, while Rotheram is one of three players with three goals this fall, and also has a CMU-best three assists. Stefanie Turner has played the bulk of the minutes in goal, and has eight shutouts and a GAA of just 0.76. Turner leads the MAC in GAA, shutouts and shutouts per game (0.53). Coach Neil Stafford welcomed back 16 letterwinners, including seven starters, from last year's team that went 15-3-3 overall and 8-1-2 in the MAC.
The Falcons trail Central Michigan, 9-5-2, in the all-time series between the teams, and the Chippewas have won six consecutive meetings. Last year, the Falcons became the first team to score vs. CMU in nearly a month, but the Chippewas pulled out a 2-1 win in Mount Pleasant (Oct. 9, 2011). In the most recent meeting at Cochrane Field, CMU posted a 1-0 win two seasons ago (Oct. 3, 2010). BGSU's last win over Central was a 2-1 decision at the CMU Soccer Complex seven years ago (Oct. 21, 2005). The Falcons are 1-5-1 at home, 3-4-0 on the road and 1-0-1 in neutral-site meetings vs. the Chippewas. The home team has won only five times in series history.
Series information and match-by-match results for all of BGSU's opponents can be found on pages 45-47 of the BGSU Women's Soccer Media Guide, which is available on the web at BGSUFalcons.com.
Thursday's match concludes the 2012 season for the Falcons. Evans and assistant coach Bubby Leasure have just four seniors – Ison, Leah Johnson, Emily Rothwell and Sarah VonderBrink – on the 27-player roster.