Central Michigan Clinches First MAC Regular Season Title

Updated 10/24/2009
Friday's MAC Women's Soccer Results

Central Michigan 1, Bowling Green 0
MOUNT PLEASANT - Neither rain, cold or mud could stand in the way of the Central Michigan women's soccer team as it clinched its first regular season Mid-American Conference championship in school history with a 1-0 win over Bowling Green at the CMU Soccer Complex on Friday.

Chelsi Abbott scored for the fourth straight match and the Chippewas (14-3, 9-0 Mid-American) won for the 12th time in a row, all via shutout. The 12 straight shutouts are tied for the third most in NCAA history. Only Santa Clara (16 in 1998) and North Carolina (13 in 1989) have posted more consecutive shutouts. CMU has not yielded a goal in 1117:26.

"We're smiling right now," head coach Tom Anagnost said. "I am really proud of the women and what they have been able to accomplish. It's been a great year so far, but our women will tell you that we will strive for more."

The rainy weather and slick field conditions made for a sloppy match as neither team was able to spend much time on the attack.

"The women dealt with the elements well even though the conditions were horrendous to play in," Anagnost said. "I feel that we had the ball a little more throughout the match. We played a good game considering the circumstances."

That all changed in the 24th minute when Stephanie Martin's centering pass found Chelsi Abbott, who one-timed the ball into the goal to give the Maroon and Gold a 1-0 lead. The Chippewas maintained the one-goal bulge at halftime and outshot the Falcons, 7-1, while owning a 3-0 edge in corner kicks in the opening frame.

"There was no soccer being played in the middle of the field due to the wet conditions," Anagnost said. "We got the ball wide and made a play. That was a great finish by Chelsi and a great ball by Stephanie."

The rain further deteriorated the field in the second half and at times the ball literally stopped in puddles of water. The Chippewas took the only shot and corner kick of the final 45 minutes.

Central outshot Bowling Green, 8-1, while holding a 4-0 advantage in corner kicks for the match. The one shot is the fewest CMU has allowed since Aug. 27, 2000 against Valparaiso.

The contest was physical throughout as CMU was called for 22 fouls while BG got whistled for 20.

Shay Mannino got the call between the pipes and turned aside the only shot that came her way for her 12th shutout this season and the 24th clean sheet of her career. Mannino has a personal shutout streak of 1013:39, the fourth-longest streak in NCAA history.

With the victory, the Chippewas are in position to host the MAC Tournament from the semifinals on if they win their quarterfinal match on Nov. 1.

CMU returns to the pitch on Sunday when it hosts Toledo at 1 p.m.

Western Michigan 1, Miami 0
OXFORD, Ohio - Despite multiple attempts at the end of each half, the Miami University women's soccer team was unable to find the equalizer, as an early goal by Western Michigan (6-7-3, 3-4-2 Mid-American Conference) held up to give the Broncos a 1-0 win Friday afternoon at a wet and boggy Miami Soccer Field. The win was WMU's first over Miami (8-7-1, 4-4-1 MAC) since 2000 and first-ever victory over the 'Hawks in Oxford.

Off the opening touch Miami dribbled the ball into the Western Michigan end, keeping pressure on the Bronco defense over the first few minutes. The RedHawks' best chance came when senior Jodi Zwingelberg (Elgin, Ill.) sent a cross through the middle of the penalty box, however no one was able to get on the other end to redirect it.

Minutes later, Western Michigan applied the pressure as freshman Anina Cicerone ripped a shot that ricocheted off the post. After earning a corner and having a shot blocked, Cicerone again found space in the Miami defense and scored the game's only goal exactly 10 minutes into the match. Sophomore Stephanie Skowneski slotted a low ball past RedHawk defenders from the right flank, which found Cicerone open less than 10 yards from the goal, as she blasted her third tally of the season. Skowneski grabbed her second helper of 2009 on the play.

In the 18th minute, junior Julie Thompson (Glenview, Ill.) gathered a ball just outside the box and sent a shot that almost looped over the WMU keeper's head, but senior keeper Sarah Phillips made a sprawling save. The RedHawks had multiple chances to even the game late in the first half, firing eight shots over the final 15 minutes of the period, including seven shots in the final six minutes. A pair Miami headers sailed high and wide, however, while freshman Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) and Zwingelberg each struck bending shots the deflected off the crossbar, which would turn out to be the closest the 'Hawks would come to scoring.

Eastern Michigan 2, Toledo 1
YPSILANTI, Mich. (EMUEagles.com) - The Eastern Michigan University women's soccer team won two battles Friday afternoon, one against its Mid-American Conference rival Toledo, 2-1, and the other by overcoming the elements of 90 minutes of steady rain and poor field conditions at Scicluna Field.

Maggie Christensen's first goal of the season was the biggest one for the Green and White. Her header in the 74th minute was the difference maker and snapped a four-game losing skid while leap-frogging the Eagles past the Rockets in the MAC standings.

What made the win even more impressive was that EMU was forced to play from behind after Toledo's Heather Wesley cleaned up a rebound off a saved shot by Molly Cornwell in the 26th minute. It wasn't until the 66th minute when the Eagles finally got on the board.

Julie Kaim netted her first goal of the year and the equalizer Friday. It came off a reset from a botched corner kick attempt for the Eagles. After gathering the ball on the left side, the sophomore took one step towards the middle of the field and fired a shot past the keeper inside the right post.

The goal not only evened the score, but gave the Eagles confidence with plenty of time to seek the game-winner and that's exactly what Christensen gave them. The junior, who missed all of last year due to an injury, co-led the team in goals with six back in 2007. Her score Friday came off a well-placed cross by Carissa Wilson.

Maggie Manville came up huge in the 85th minute when the Rockets bombarded her with three consecutive shots only to deny them each opportunity. The junior pushed her record to 5-1-3 on the year and the Eagles to sole possession of second place in the conference.

Eastern will host Bowling Green this Sunday which will also be recognized as Senior Day at Scicluna Field. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.

Northern Illinois 2, Ball State 1
MUNCIE, Ind. - The Ball State soccer team saw its second half rally fall short Friday afternoon as the Cardinals suffered a 2-1 loss to Mid-American Conference foe Northern Illinois at a wet and muddy BSU Soccer Field. The loss drops the Cardinals to 4-12-0 overall and 2-7-0 in MAC play while the Huskies improve to 5-10-2 overall and 1-6-2 in league action.

"We were very tentative in the first half today and dug ourselves into a hole," head coach Michael Lovett said. "We came out in the second half and played inspired soccer. Our team really responded to the adversity of Nicole's injury, but we could not overcome the two-goal deficit."
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Illinois struck first in the sixth minute of the game as Lisa Maier got in behind the Cardinals' defense and placed a shot off of the far post past BSU freshman goalkeeper Nicole Wood (Strongsville, Ohio/Strongsville). The Huskies took advantage of the sloppy playing conditions and the wind at their backs to score their second goal in the 21st minute. NIU sent a free kick from midfield into the box where Kelsey Passaglia was able to poke a loose ball into the back of the net for a 2-0 lead.

Wood, who had played 600-plus consecutive minutes, suffered an injury on a collision in the box in the 33rd minute. Senior goalkeeper Amy Cleeter (Aurora, Ind./South Dearborn) was summoned on in relief for BSU.

Ball State regrouped at halftime and was aided with the switching of ends as it played with the wind in the second half. The Cardinals battled back and held a 9-4 advantage in shots in the second frame as they fought for the game-tying goal.

BSU narrowed the margin to 2-1 in the 67th minute of play as it finally beat NIU goalkeeper Lindsey Curnock. Freshman forward Maggie Brown (West Chester, Ohio/Lakota West) sent a ball into the box where it found an on-charging Paige Stroinski (Granger, Ind./Penn). Stroinski gathered the ball and generated some space before ripping a shot past Curnock for her third goal of the season.

The Cardinals kept attacking down the stretch as they battled through the tough playing conditions. Ball State had its best chance for the game-tying goal 85th minute as junior forward Missy Gordon (Carmel, Ind./Marshall Univ.) sent a cross into the box where senior midfielder Megan Ridley (Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence Central) got a head on the cross but had the shot blocked to thwart the attack.

The loss evens the all-time series between Ball State and Northern Illinois to 4-4-3 in series history.

Ball State returns to action Sunday afternoon as it closes out the home portion of the regular season when it hosts Western Michigan at 1 p.m. The Cardinals will recognize the senior duo of Cleeter and Ridley prior to the game at BSU Soccer Field.

Ohio 1, Kent State 0
KENT, Ohio - The Kent State women's soccer team (7-7-2, 3-4-2 MAC) was unable to put away its chances in regulation Friday afternoon against Ohio and the visiting Bobcats converted less than a minute into the first overtime period as the Golden Flashes dropped a tough 1-0 decision in the team's fifth straight overtime game.

Ohio's Cathryn Rogers scored off her own rebound from less than five yards out for the game's only goal to boost the Bobcats to 8-6-2 on the season and 5-2-2 in MAC play.

"It's something where one mistake can count against you," said head coach Rob Marinaro of Kent State's overtime setback. "I thought we played well; this team has a lot of heart and fight. We should have been the better team today, but unfortunately we weren't."

A pestering rain mixed with a cross-field wind provided a sloppy situation for both teams. Both teams struggled to get good footing and good chances offensively in the first half.

The game's offensive intensity picked up in the second stanza, starting with Kent State's Beth Diederich (Pittsburgh, Pa.) in the 62nd minute. With the ball hanging around in the Golden Flashes' offensive end, Diederich made an aggressive run on the left side and fired a long-range shot. Her effort was saved by Ohio's Jess MacLean but not corralled, leaving a chance for Megan Repas (Avon, Ohio) at the near post. But her tap-in from inside the goal box was deflected wide by the Ohio defense.

Then, in the 72nd minute, it was Annie Messer (Dayton, Ohio) who teed up a hard shot from the right side from 15 yards. But MacLean went high to the near upper 90 to gather the ball. Messer led Kent State with four shots on the day.

Ohio's best chance in regulartion came with just five minutes left, when Jasmine Merith got the ball near the top of the penalty box on the right side, spun and shot to the far post, but her effort skipped just wide.

Kent State had a 12-9 shots advantage in regulation, including a 6-1 lead in shots on goal. The Flashes also had a 7-4 mark over Ohio in corner kicks.

Then, in the first minute of overtime, Merith came down the left flank and shot from 25 yards, only to have her attempt bounce back into play off the crossbar. There, Ohio's Rogers fired from point-blank range, but her first attempt was denied by KSU goalkeeper Kelly Sherwood (Strongsville, Ohio). Rogers' follow-up shot, however, got through the Kent State defense for her third goal of the season.

Sherwood finished with two saves for Kent State, while MacLean made six stops for the shutout.

The five straight overtime games for the Flashes is the most consecutive overtime contests in the program's 13-year history, while Kent State tied a team record with its eighth overtime game of the season.

Kent State returns to action Sunday, Oct. 25 when the Flashes host Akron at 1 p.m. The game will also serve as Senior Day for Kent State, as the team will recognize its six-player senior class prior to kickoff.

Akron 2, Buffalo 0
BUFFALO, NY - Under steady rain and cool temperatures, the University at Buffalo women's soccer team dropped their match to Akron, 2-0, this afternoon at UB Stadium.

The first half was scoreless for both teams, with Buffalo having the edge in shots 5-3. Aubrey Stahl had a shot on goal early in the game, but was stopped short by the Akron keeper. Freshmen Katie Kerr, Stephanie Velez and Taylor Thompson each had a shot in the first half but could not capitalize to put the Bulls ahead.

The Zips came out quick in the second half, scoring their first goal of the game just three minutes in. UB goalkeeper Amy Coron saved the initial shot from Akron's Katie Wise, but Wise was able to grab her own rebound and send it to the back of the Buffalo net. The Bulls tried to find the equalizer but were unable to get past a solid Akron defense. Lindsey Bailey and defender Jennifer Mihok each had shots in the second half. Akron scored an insurance score goal at the 66:36 mark to seal the 2-0 win.

With six UB players getting a shot in the game, the Bulls were not without their opportunities."We generated chances, we just have to tuck them away," said head coach Michael Thomas.

Coron made six saves in net, giving her 111 so far on the year.

The Bulls will be back in action on Sunday, as they take on Ohio at 12 pm at UB Stadium. The team will honor its eight seniors before the match on Sunday, including Jocelyn Cibinskas, Coron, Julie Dale, Sara Hilliard, Jessica Keaton, Jenifer Kern, Melissa Klein and Mihok.