Courtesy of Western Michigan Athletic Communications
AKRON, Ohio- Sophomore center back Connor Furgason propelled Western Michigan men’s soccer to its third appearance in the Mid-American Conference Tournament championship game in the last four years, heading in the game-winner in the semifinals Friday against Hartwick. The 1-0 victory was WMU’s first ever postseason win over the Hawks.
No. 2 seed Western Michigan awaits the winner of the No. 4 West Virginia vs. No. 1 Akron in Friday’s second semifinal. A meeting against the Zips would be a rematch of the regular season finale in which Akron edged the Broncos for the regular season title. The championship will be played Sunday at 1 p.m. at Akron’s FirstEnergy Stadium.
Furgason’s goal came in the 82nd minute, as he leapt above the crowd and knocked in a corner kick by freshman Sam Bell. It was his first career game-winner and fourth goal of the season. Bell registered his third career assist.
“It was another fantastic effort from our team against a good Hartwick side,” said WMU head coach Chad Wiseman. “Sam delivered a perfect ball and Connor did what he has done all year.
“Mario Teixeira did a great job on the back line, stepping in for Josh Whitaker and giving a complete game effort. The defense has been solid all season, and we keep finding ways to win.
“We are very excited for the opportunity to play for our second championship in a week’s time. We know whoever we face, whether its West Virginia or Akron, its going to a battle from start to finish.”
Both sides were limited in their offensive chances, as WMU took just eight shots in the game and held No. 3 seed Hartwick to 10. Sophomore Chase Rau played all 90 minutes in goal and was not forced to make a save. It was WMU’s fifth shutout of the season. WMU has only allowed three goals in seven overall outings against conference competition.
Wiseman set a new program mark for wins as a first-year head coach at Western Michigan, as his squad improved to 9-8-1 on the season.
Sunday will be Western Michigan’s fifth all-time appearance in the MAC championship. The Broncos won the title in 2003, and finished as runners-up in 2004, 2010 and 2011. Wiseman was an assistant coach at WMU during the 2003 run.