Broncos With Pair of MAC Matches This Weekend
KALAMAZOO, Mich.- Western Michigan men's soccer continues Mid-American Conference play this week with a road trip to Bowling Green Friday and a home match against Florida Atlantic Sunday. Friday's kickoff is at 7 p.m., and Sunday's match begins at noon.
STARVING STUDENTS/CARE ABOUT KIDS DAY
Sunday's game against FAU will be Starving Students and Care About Kids Day. The men's soccer team will be providing free pizza (while supplies last) to WMU Students, as well as Team Bronco and Care About Kids members.
HOW THEY'VE FARED
Western Michigan is off to a 7-2-2 overall record and 0-0-1 start in conference play after playing No. 17 West Virginia to a 1-1 draw last Saturday at home. The Broncos won seven of their first eight games, going 7-1-0, marking the best start to a season since 1984. Since then, WMU has dropped a 2-1 road meeting with Michigan State and played both IUPUI and WVU to 1-1 ties. Senior Shane Lyons scored both of WMU's goals last week.
"I couldn't have asked for anything more from the lads this week in preparation for this important weekend," said WMU head coach Stu Riddle. "The work rate in training and attitudes have been great and we feel prepared for the two very difficult challenges we face."
IN THE RANKINGS
Western Michigan is ranked in the top 10 in the NSCAA Great Lakes Regional poll for the fifth straight week, holding the No. 7 spot. The Broncos have been ranked as high as No. 6 this season.
Western Michigan has tallied 20 goals and 20 assists this season. Marco Lobo and Shane Lyons each have a team-best four goals, Lyons recording a goal in each of the last four games. Ryan Lemasters has totaled six assists, ranking fifth most in the nation. Eleven different Broncos have found the back of the net this season.
BETWEEN THE POSTS
Junior goalkeeper Sean Lewis has played all but 45 minutes in goal for the Broncos and has allowed just eight goals against for a 0.79 goals-against average. He has made 38 saves in 11 games and has a .826 save percentage with three shutouts to his credit.
Bowling Green is 3-5-2 this season, and has dropped its first two MAC games, suffering 2-0 losses to Akron and Hartwick. The team has scored just 10 goals all year and has allowed 13 goals against. The Falcons are 1-1-1 when playing on the road. Danny Balradi leads the team with four goals, while Anthony Grant has two.
Florida Atlantic travels to Akron Friday before making its way to Kalamazoo. The Owls enter the weekend with an overall record of 1-7-1, 0-2-0 in MAC play. FAU's lone win was a 3-0 victory at Jacksonville, Aug. 31. In the first two games of conference play, Florida Atlantic fell to West Virginia, 4-0, and Northern Illinois, 2-0. As a team, the Owls have managed just six goals and allowed 15. Deniz Bozkurt is the only player with multiple goals with two.
Western Michigan has won the last five meetings against Bowling Green and is 11-2-1 against the Falcons over the last decade. BGSU, however, leads the all-time series, 26-14-3. WMU defeated the Falcons last year in Kalamazoo in the final game of the regular season, 2-1. Danny Balradi gave BGSU a 1-0 lead in the 12th minute, but the Broncos bounced back with second-half goals by Pat Schiffer and Kai Mendes.
The Broncos are 3-0-2 all-time against Florida Atlantic, and 2-0-0 at home against the Owls. WMU has outscored FAU 8-2 in the five meetings. The two teams tied, 1-1, last year on Oct. 8 in Boca Raton, Fla. Kyle Farris scored for WMU in the 56th minute and FAU countered with a goal by Michael Dunbar in the 73rd minute.
Western Michigan travels to Big East opponent Cincinnati Wednesday, Oct. 10, and returns to Kalamazoo to host Horizon League foe Detroit Wednesday, Oct. 17. The Broncos close out the regular season with four-straight conference games.