Men's Soccer Readies For Home Games Against IUPUI and West Virginia
WHAT HAPPENED LAST WEEK
Western Michigan (7-2-0) split a pair of games last week, pulling off a double-overtime, 2-1, victory at Wright State, Sept. 18, and falling by a narrow 2-1 margin at Big Ten counterpart Michigan State, Sept. 21. With the victory over Wright State, WMU secured its seventh win in its first eight games, marking the program's best start since the 1984 team began the season 7-0-1.
"It's an exciting week for us with one more game ahead of us to prepare for our MAC opener," said Bronco head coach Stu Riddle. "We have to manage injuries and sickness tomorrow to make sure we are at 100% for Saturday and I am looking forward to seeing how deep our squad is this week."
WELCOME BACK SHANE
Shane Lyons returned to action this past week to score two goals and assist a third, registering five points in two games. Lyons had a hand in both Bronco goals in WMU's 2-1 double overtime comeback win at Wright State, Sept. 18. His team trailing 1-0 midway through the second half, Lyons smashed a left-footed strike for the game-tying goal in the 68th minute. Lyons then assisted the game-winning goal in the 101st minute. Lyons scored WMU's lone goal at Michigan State Friday. A 2010 First Team All-MAC selection, Lyons was the Broncos' leading scorer the last two seasons, but missed the final 10 games of 2011 after tearing suffering an ACL injury. Lyons had missed the previous four matches of 2012 prior to his three-point appearance at Wright State, which were his first goal and assist of the season.
LEADING THE MAC
Western Michigan is currently the MAC leader for total wins (7) and winning percentage (.777). Akron (5-1-2) and West Virginia (5-2-1) each have five wins on the season, and both opened MAC play with wins this past weekend, Akron downing Bowling Green, 2-0, and WVU defeating Florida Atlantic, 4-0. Saturday's game against the Mountaineers will be the first conference outing for WMU.
Each of Western Michigan's two losses have been by one goal and on the road (at Canisius, 1-0, at Michigan State, 2-1). The Broncos are 3-0-0 at home this year and have outscored their opponents 18 goals to six. In the three games at the WMU Soccer Complex, the Brown & Gold have outscored its foes 11-1.
SPREADING THE WEALTH
Eleven different Broncos have found the back of the net this season, and five players have registered multiple goals. Marco Lobo leads the team with four tallies, while Kyle Farris, Ryan Lemasters, Shane Lyons and Oliver Mayer each have two goals apiece. Lemasters is the team's assists leader with five. Quick-footed Lobo has fired the most shots, taking 23, followed by Mayer's 19 attempts.
DEFENSE DOING ITS JOB
Western Michigan has improved drastically in terms of defense from 2011 to 2012. The Broncos have allowed just six goals against through their first nine games this season, compared to 16 goals in the first nine games in 2011. Senior Darren Jones made the switch from midfield to defense at the end of last year and has been a catalyst on the back line this season. Junior goalkeeper Sean Lewis has posted three shutouts (four combined) and made 27 saves, touting a .818 save percentage and 0.69 goals-against average.
IUPUI is off to a 4-6-1 overall, and 1-0-0 Summit League record. The team is led by senior attacker Kyle Hyland and freshman goalkeeper Eduardo Cortes, who are the reigning offensive and defensive Summit League players of the week. Hyland had just two goals last year, but has scored eight of his team's first 12 in 2012. Defensively, IUPUI has conceded 18 goals as a team.
West Virginia has posted five wins in its first eight games, dropping two and tying one. Both of WVU's losses were to ranked opponents, falling at No. 1 North Carolina, 1-0, and at No. 23 Wake Forest, 1-0. The Mountaineers host Iona Wednesday, before making the trip to Kalamazoo Saturday. Entering the week, WVU has outscored its opponents 13 goals to five, with three different players netting two goals. Competing in the Big 12 in its other sports, this is WVU's first season as a MAC men's soccer affiliate member.
Following the match against West Virginia, Western Michigan continues MAC play with two conference opponents in three days to open the month of October. WMU travels to Bowling Green Oct. 5, and hosts Florida Atlantic Oct. 7.