Men's Soccer Heads to Valparaiso For Friday Night Match
GAME TO BE CARRIED ON HORIZON LEAGUE NETWORK
A video webcast of Friday's match against Valparaiso from Brown Field will be streamed live through the Horizon League Network, while Valpo will also air the game over its student radio, WVUR (95.1 FM). Links for the live video and audio, as well as live stats, can be found in the related links box.
"We are under no illusions about Friday's game and know that we will have to be at our absolute best to get anything out of the match against an excellently coached team," said Bronco head coach Stu Riddle. "I am pleased with the form to date and the players have enjoyed the limelight that comes with the accolades they have received, but I can assure you are feet are firmly on the ground as we focus for the next match."
IN THE RANKINGS
Western Michigan slipped from No. 6 to No. 7 in the Great Lakes Regional rankings this week after the Broncos suffered their first loss of the season last week, a 1-0 defeat at Canisius. WMU has been ranked in two of the first three weeks of the poll.
WMU TOP 10 IN THE NATION STATISTICALLY
The NCAA released men's soccer stats for the first time this season Sept. 11, and the Broncos are among national leaders in several categories. Western Michigan ranks ninth in total goals (14), assists (13) and points (41). The Bronco scoring offense is No. 18 in the country and the team also ranks in the top 25 in goals-against average (0.49), shutout percentage (0.5) and win-loss-tied percentage (.833). Individually, Ryan Lemasters is third in the nation with four assists, while Marco Lobo is 13th with four goals scored.
SETTING THE BAR IN THE MAC
Entering this week of play, Western Michigan was the Mid-American Conference leader in almost all major offensive and defensive statistical categories. The Broncos ranked first in goals (14), assists (12), goals allowed (3), goals-against average (0.49) and shutouts (3). Marco Lobo leads the conference in goals (4), points (9), points per game (1.50) and goals per game (0.67). Lemasters is the assists leader (4), as well as tops for assists per game (0.67). Oliver Mayer (18) and Lobo (17) are the top two in the conference in terms of shots taken and goalkeeper Sean Lewis ranks first in goals-against average (0.54).
REFLECTING ON LAST WEEK
After winning its first four games, Western Michigan dropped its first game of the season last Thursday on the road at Canisius, 1-0. The Broncos rebounded with a 4-1 win over Loyola-Chicago at home on Saturday. Marco Lobo had two goals in the win, while Kyle Farris had two assists. Freshman Erik Kelly and junior Scott Zech also tallied their first career goals.
ALL-TIME VS. VALPO
Western Michigan is 12-7-1 in all-time meetings against Valparaiso, and 4-5-1 all-time against the Crusaders on the road. The Broncos defeated Valpo 2-0 last September in Kalamazoo, but has been unable to pick up a road win in Indiana since 2000, falling in their last three meetings on Brown Field (2010, 2008, 2006).
Valpo was selected to finish third in the Horizon League preseason poll and is off to a 1-3-1 start to 2012, however has played a tough schedule to open the year. The Crusaders have lost their last three outings, falling to Cal Poly (1-0), No. 9 UC Santa (2-1), at Western Illinois (1-0). The Crusaders defeated Saint Joseph's (6-1) and started the season with a 0-0 tie at Michigan State. Valpo has scored seven total goals in five games (six of those in a single contest) and allowed five goals against. The Crusaders are 1-1-0 on their home pitch.
Friday will be the first of three-straight road games for Western Michigan, which also travels to Wright State Tuesday, Sept. 16 and Michigan State, Friday, Sept. 21. The Broncos return to Kalamazoo to host IUPUI Sept. 25, before beginning MAC play against the newest conference affiliate in men's soccer, West Virginia, Sept. 29.