Courtesy of Home MAC Athletic Communications Departments
Western Michigan 1, Bowling Green 0
Hartwick 2, Northern Illinois 1
KALAMAZOO, Mich. -- Oliver Mayer laced a free kick into the back of the net in the 42nd minute and Chase Rau needed to make three saves for the Western Michigan men's soccer team to remain undefeated in Mid-American Conference play after a 1-0 win over Bowling Green at the WMU Soccer Complex on Saturday afternoon.
Marco Lobo drew a foul near the top of the box Mayer stepped up for the direct free kick. The junior forward curled it up and around the wall and into the right side of the net from 25 yards out to give the Broncos a 1-0 lead heading into the half.
The Bronco back line of Sean Hazen, Connor Furgason, Cam Jensen and Josh Whitaker held the line in the second half, withstanding everything Bowling Green threw at them to keep the clean sheet. Western Michigan has yet to give up a goal in conference play so far this season.
"The second half Bowling Green was really pushing up the field to find the equalizer. They were playing a lot of balls over the top of us and with the field conditions today we needed to win the first and the second balls and I thought we did a really good job of that," said head coach Chad Wiseman. "Chase has really found his form with his fourth straight clean sheet in MAC play and our back line has really continued to grow and get better and better each time out."
While BGSU did hold a 13-11 shot advantage on the Broncos, only three of them landed on net.
Up next for Western Michigan is a road trip to Northern Illinois on Tuesday at 8 p.m. The Broncos then host Akron on Saturday at 1 p.m.
ONEONTA, NY – Max Walcott (London, England/West Herts College) fired home the game-winning goal 2:15 into the second overtime period to lift Hartwick's men's soccer team to a 2-1 come from behind win over visiting Northern Illinois Saturday on Elmore Field.
The game was the final Mid-American Conference match of the season for Hartwick with the victory locking up the Hawks' first playoff appearance since 2009.
The Hawks trailed 1-0 at the half but responded with a Jhevaughn Beckford (Kingston, Jamaica/Wolmer's Boys' School) goal in the 63rd minute to tie the match.
Walcott slammed in the winner following a corner. The ball fell perfectly for Walcott whose powerful left-footed volley slipped under the crossbar to end the contest.
Hartwick, which snaps a three-game MAC winless streak, improves to 5-7-4 overall and finishes 3-2-1 in the league standings. The Huskies fall to 4-12 and 0-4 in the MAC.
"The road to securing our playoff berth has had its up and downs," said John Scott, "but as a coaching staff we never doubted our team's ability to make it there after our six MAC games. This has been a true team effort."
Scoring chances were limited in the first half of play. NIU, however, missed a golden opportunity to take the lead less than 10 minutes in. After a giveaway in the back, leading scorer Isaac Kannah broke in all alone with Hartwick keeper Mateo Munarriz (Manizales, Colombia/Colegio Granadino) but his near-post shot went wide of the post and the game remained 0-0.
Hartwick's best chance of the half came in the 22nd minute. Marc Russell (Glasgow, Scotland/Woodfarm HS) played a short service into the NIU box from the right side. Nick Hills (Garden Suburb, Australia/U. of Newcastle) got his head to it but the shot went high. Hills would register all four of Hartwick's shots in the first half, which ended goalless.
Eight minutes, four seconds into the second half, the Huskies broke the ice. Jayson Leseth played a ball from the middle of the park to the right side for Paul Hogan who found space and was able to serve the ball over. Bertrand Gaschot was there to bang it home from in close for the 1-0 advantage.
The Hawks were dangerous on a few possessions in the next nine minutes but they went unrewarded. Beckford would enter the game for the first time at 61:36 and it immediately paid dividends as he tallied 1:20 later. Straight off a goal kick, Hills headed the ball to spring Russell free on a breakaway. Russell's blast was knocked down by goalie Andrew Glaeser but Beckford struck a great shot to finish off the rebound and even the game at 1-1 with 27 minutes left.
The Huskies had a few decent chances on goal over the next 11 minutes. Kannah had long drive after turning with the ball but it skidded wide of the Hartwick goal. Later, LeSeth hit a shot from the right side but it hit the side-netting just inches wide of the post. Dusty Page also had a header from in close that went high over the crossbar.
Hartwick had a great chance in the dying minutes of regulation. Russell had a low shot from in close but Glaeser would make the diving save to keep the ball out.
NIU had both shots of the first overtime period with one shot forcing an easy save from Munarriz. In the second overtime, a Chris Walter (Amherst, NY/Nichols School) corner kick would be nodded on by Russell at the corner of the Huskies' six-yard box. The ball popped up to Walcott who crushed his volley past Glaeser for the clincher to send the Hawks into a jubilant celebration.
"From my assistant, Beau Brinsko, to our trainer Alexis Caponi, to the 24 boys on the roster, everyday we've worked hard for this moment and I couldn't be happier for what the team has now achieved," contributed Scott. "We were written off from the beginning by being polled to finish 7th and that gave us added incentive to make the playoffs."
The Hawks are currently in a 2nd place tie with Western Michigan. Both teams have 10 points and trail first-place Akron (12 pts.). Only the Zips or the Broncos can clinch the regular season title and top seed in the playoffs. The two teams meet next weekend.
Hartwick is likely to secure the third seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament. The final playoff team will also be determined next weekend. Bowling Green (7 pts.) and West Virginia (7 pts.) meet in Morgantown, WV on Friday night.
The Hawks will wrap up their season on Tuesday against Bucknell. Seniors Will Broomfield (Brighton, England/Cloud Community College), Tim Crawford (Webster, NY/Webster Thomas), and Matthew Robertson (Banchory, Scotland/Binghamton U.) will be honored in a ceremony prior to the match.