Story courtesy of BGSU Sports Information
BOWLING GREEN, Ohio - Normally Senior Day marks the last scheduled home contest for a squad; with Bowling Green State University's (6-9-3, 2-2-1) win over Northern Illinois University (5-8-4, 2-2-1) the seniors [Alec Perea, Ryan Perea and Abiola Sandy] were given at least one additional match in front of an Orange and Brown crowd. The 3-1 Mid-American Conference victory ensured the Falcons home-field advantage for the Nov. 13 conference tournament play-in match.
The contest marked the final scheduled match for the Falcons' 2007 season, but it is speculated BGSU will now have the chance to host either Western Michigan or Northern Illinois on Tuesday. Official word from the MAC has yet to be received to confirm BG's opponent and game time.
"Today was an incredible day. Not only was the weather amazing for a November afternoon, but also what a great sendoff for this senior class," said head coach Fred Thompson. "This class has seen ups-and-downs through their careers, but they are also a large reason that we are turning a new leaf in the program. I am proud of the team for giving the three seniors such a great memory for the day.'
Bowling Green got off to their quickest start of the season scoring in the second minute of the match. Cameron Hepple organized the Falcon offense as he aimed his corner kick at the cluster of Falcons waiting in front of the NIU goal and found the newly Mohawked head of Thomas McLean. With one flick of McLean's neck, BG found itself up 1-0 while the NIU defense found the resulting shot still lying in the back of the net.
The goal was the third of McLean's rookie season; he and sophomore Ahmad Smith lead all freshman Falcons in goal scoring under Thompson (3).
Hepple's assist also marked the third consecutive match in which he has found himself in the point column. The red-shirt sophomore has helped on one score in each of the past three contests while adding a goal against Western Michigan.
"Cameron has really found his feet as of late and had an outstanding outing today. He really kept pressure on NIU's defense and was a huge asset for our team today - he was the difference maker today."
Four minutes later, Chuko Evwaraye joined the `back-to-back club' as he netted his second goal in as many games. At 5:11 the red-shirt sophomore extended the Falcons lead to 2-0 after receiving a ball from keeper Brent Petkus and took it the remaining length of the field. With Petkus' credited assist, the Falcons can now boast a pair of keepers with a pair of assists this season.
While he did make his name known on the offensive side of the ball, Petkus also played a bit of defense stopping a game high seven shots on goal. In five games, he has allowed six goals and has a 1.15 GAA setting personal records for most games played in a season and lowest goals against average.
The Falcons final goal of the match was something of a familiar scene as Hunter Van Houten completed the scoring trifecta tallying his third goal in as many consecutive games. Dating back to the Oct. 24 match against Detroit, Hunter Van Houten is responsible for eight of the Falcons 25 points while Hepple can also take credit for an additional five. Alone, Van Houten has matched the combined point totals of Detroit, Western Michigan and Northern Illinois.
The Falcon were a perfect three-for-three in the first half and did not record non-shot on goal until the last minute of play when Jacob Lawrence's shot was blocked by NIU's Kyle Knotek.
"They [NIU] are a difficult team to play. Not only do they have a height advantage with so many players standing at least six-feet tall, but also they do so many things right," said Thompson. "I think they came out a bit flat in the beginning of the game and we were able to take advantage of that.
"Our defending was fantastic today. The majority of Northern's shots were taken at a distance. The numbers [18-8 Northern shot advantage] may look intimidating, but I will take a defensive effort like this all day."
The Huskies Fraser Gibson dashed the Falcons shutout hopes at 66:37 when he beat the BGSU defense and slid a shot in behind a rushing Petkus who had a bit of distance between himself and the goal.
As mentioned earlier, the Falcons must now wait to hear from the MAC for the official bracketing of the conference tournament. Potentially, BGSU has the ability to finish as high as the top three [third would be the highest possible Falcon finish] since 2002 when BG tied for first place.