Bronco Men's Soccer Takes on Northern Illinois in Final Home Game
WHAT'S AT STAKE
Western Michigan owns a 10-5-2 overall record and a 2-2-1 Mid-American Conference record, while Northern Illinois is 5-8-3 and 3-1-1 in the MAC. Both teams are fighting for one of four spots in the upcoming MAC Tournament. Akron has clinched the No. 1 seed in the tournament, while five other teams, are looking to clinch one of the three remaining spots. Western Michigan is currently fifth in the standings with two games to go, facing Akron on the road after NIU.
"We have a lot of respect for Northern Illinois and know that it will be a very tough battle as it was in the MAC Championship game against them last year," said WMU head coach Stu Riddle. "The boys have prepared well and we are looking forward to the match."
WHAT HAPPENED LAST YEAR
Western Michigan will be looking for redemption after suffering a pair of losses to NIU last year. The Huskies won the regular-season meeting in DeKalb, 3-0, then slipped by the Broncos in the MAC Tournament championship game, 1-0.
Western Michigan is 6-17-1 all-time against the Huskies and 5-5-0 when playing at home. WMU's last win over Northern Illinois was a 2-1 victory on the road in 2009.
IN THE RANKINGS
Western Michigan has been ranked in the top 10 in the Great Lakes Region for nine of the 10 weeks this season, cracking the top 10 every week but the first. The Broncos hold the No. 9 spot this week.
Western Michigan has recorded 30 goals and 29 assists this season. Shane Lyons is the team's leading scorer with eight goals, while Jason Grant, Marco Lobo and Oliver Mayer each have four goals apiece. Ryan Lemasters leads the team with seven assists. The Broncos have allowed 16 games against. Junior goalkeeper Sean Lewis has played in all 17 games and has a 0.98 goals against average and a .786 save percentage.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES
Northern Illinois has scored just 13 goals in 16 games this year and allowed 18 goals against. Gael Rivera is the team's leading scorer with four goals. James Stevenson has three goals and Isaac Kannah has two. NIU has shutout its last three opponents, posting 1-0 wins over West Virginia and Northwestern and playing Bowling Green to a scoreless tie. Jordan Godsey has played every minute in goal and has a 1.06 goals against average and .795 save percentage.
Western Michigan has reached 10 wins for the second time in four years under head coach Stu Riddle, also doing so in 2010. The Broncos have only reached 10 wins on one other occasion in the last 10 years, during the 2003 MAC Tournament Championship season when the team finished 12-7-2.
BRONCO MAC PLAYERS OF THE WEEK
Western Michigan has produced three different MAC Players of the Week this season, in senior defender Darren Jones, senior forward Shane Lyons and sophomore forward Jason Grant. The three Player of the Week nods ties a single-season best for WMU, also achieved in 2003.
WHAT LIES AHEAD
Western Michigan travels to Akron for the regular-season finale, taking on the Zips Saturday, Nov. 3 at 7:30 p.m.