Story courtesy of Western Michigan Media Relations
MAC Women's Soccer Championship Central
TOLEDO, Ohio -- A goal in the 11th minute and stellar defensive play is all the Western Michigan women's soccer team needed to upset top-seeded Toledo, 1-0, to advance to play Central Michigan in the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship on Sunday at 1 p.m. at Toledo's Scott Park Soccer Complex.
The Broncos took the lead in the 11th minute after a shot by Anina Cicerone was deflected into the net at the far post. Megan Matula corralled the ball and passed it back to Cicerone. The junior midfielder fired with her left foot and it deflected off a Toledo defender before trickling into the net. The goal was the fifth of the season by Cicerone and the assist was Matula's first. One goal was all the Broncos needed as the defense clamped down on Toledo from there.
"The first half was relatively even," said head coach Suzie Grech. "Both teams had some missed opportunities and solid chances."
Toledo slightly outshot the Broncos in the first half, 4-3, but picked it up in the second half as desperation set in. Toledo rattled off shot after shot but the Bronco defense held strong, led by senior goalkeeper Julia Francy and her eight saves.
"Toledo really pressed in the second half," said Grech. "The had some defenders charge forward at times and we struggled to push possession back into their end but Julia came up big for us today."
Francy and the Broncos combined for their eighth shutout of the season. It was the 19th of Francy's career, just one shy of tying Katie Perz's school record.
This is the first trip back to the MAC Tournament Finals since the 2003 season in which WMU defeated Bowling Green, 4-1, and second trip in program history.