A strong defensive case

The BGSU women’s soccer team has tested themselves early in the season. The main focus of their tough early schedule was to prepare for the start of Mid-American Conference play, and this weekend the team found out it worked well.

The Falcons beat Northern Illinois 1-0 on Friday, and Sunday, defeated Western Michigan 2-0.

“Starting off the MAC season 2-0 presents great opportunity for us,” said BG coach Andy Richards. “We’re at a pretty good place. We have continually improved throughout the season.”

The weekend proved to be a confidence booster for the Falcons, and the emergence of Danielle Cygan as an effective striker was a big part of that. Cygan scored two goals, including the game-winner against Northern Illinois.

“Danielle has a tremendous job staying patient,” Richards said. “She played behind some great four-year starters – she has made the best of her opportunities. She was generally a bench player the past two seasons, but started every game this year.”

The defense also looked solid, posting two shutouts. Goalie Tiffany Hansen was stingy in the net, playing 90 minutes in both games.

“We had a great defensive display in both of the games this weekend,” Richards said. “You also have to credit the effectiveness of Tiffany Hansen behind the net.”

The playing conditions were difficult against NIU. It was a sloppy midfield battle between two teams searching for their first MAC win.

BG limited chances to score throughout the first 45 minutes. Late in the first half, Cygan scored on a 25-yard kick to give the Falcons a 1-0 advantage.

With momentum in their favor the Falcons stepped up their defensive pressure in the second half, leading to the victory.

“The game was a scrappy affair – pretty typical MAC game but the bad conditions didn’t help,” Richards said. “We had a super strike goal by Danielle Cygan right before halftime that propelled that victory. “Again I am very proud of the way we played in the second half slowing down NIU, because they were desperately trying to get back into the game.”

Sunday’s home contest against WMU was a much more physical one than Friday. The Falcons dominated the majority of the game, and fifteen minutes into the game, Danielle Cygan scored a goal off a cross from Stacey Lucas.

“That goal we scored from Cygan was probably the best goal we have scored as a team in the past couple seasons,” Richards said. “It was a great team effort and execution.”

The Falcons were not done yet, as they scored their second goal in the game 15 minutes later. Faith Juillerat scored her first collegiate goal on a pass from Corbie Yee.

“WMU was a tough opponent,” Richards said. “There was a lot at stake but we scored two key goals and kept the confidence level high and we got the win.”

Up next for the Falcons (5-5-0, 2-0) is a pair of home games against MAC opponents Ball State and Miami (OH).

“Next Friday we have a tough contest against Ball State and Sunday we have to play a respectable team in Miami,” Richards said. “Both teams are going to be great competition for us and we’re hoping to continue to get better and win both games.”