Women’s soccer clutch, but for how long?

Chase Bachman and Chase Bachman

As the old saying goes, it’s better late than never. The BGSU women’s soccer team can fully appreciate that cliche. In the team’s last two matches, the Falcons have narrowly escaped defeat to remain unblemished in conference play. 

In their match on Sunday, the squad took Eastern Michigan to overtime when Maureen Kennedy blasted a free kick with 20 seconds left. Fellow senior Chelsee Washington followed that up with the winning goal in the 95th minute.

That performance followed their match on Oct. 10, in which the Falcons were down 2-1 to Central Michigan before Chelsee Washington tied it with 35 seconds left in regulation. The orange and brown took it to double overtime where Kennedy White scored the winning goal at the 110th minute.

Being down 2-1 with less than a minute to go in a soccer match can feel like a death sentence to fans, but these Falcons just never seem to give up. Head coach Matt Fannon has built a program that is 19-1 against its last 20 conference opponents.

“It’s a big part of our culture now,” Kennedy, senior, said. “Even if we are behind, we keep pushing because things can go our way. Since we’ve seen it now, we have a stronger belief in ourselves.”

The Falcons have already been in six overtime matches so far this season, going 3-1-2. The team only went to overtime on four occasions last regular season, none of which were in MAC play.

As the last two matches have shown, the rest of the conference programs are making contests closer. It’s still the Falcons atop everyone else, but the gap appears to be closing.

“The parity is definitely better,” Fannon said. 

“The game planning is better. We knew coming into this year, every team was going to give us their best game, and we’ve seen that so far. Every single game has been a real challenge. It certainly was last year as well.”

The Falcons’ biggest competition is arguably Ball State, a team with similar OT experiences. Three of the Cardinals’ last five matches have gone longer than 90 minutes, winning all three. In 3rd place, Central Michigan has had two conference matches go to overtime, going 1-1.

“We’re getting everyone’s best game,” Washington said. 

“We approach each team like they’re right behind us in the standings. In that sense, we treat every game like it’s the MAC Championship.” 

The Falcons are currently the only remaining undefeated team in the conference. Kennedy and Washington have arguably been the best players on the team. Ball State is firmly in second place in the standings. Same story, different chapter. But will this one have the same ending.

Winning the MAC regular season and tournament titles in back-to-back years is a tough ask of any team. The Falcons certainly have the talent and the coaching to do so, but one has to consider exhaustion.

How long can the Falcons keep winning in the last minute before their play during the first 89 catches up to them? Hard to say. According to Fannon, the Falcons are undefeated in all conference matches because they focus on one at a time.

“Right now, all we care about is being undefeated on Friday. That’s one of the reasons we’ve been successful. Everybody focuses on what’s happening next. We’re not trying to win every single game, just the next one,” Fannon said.

The Falcons’ next match is Friday at 7 p.m. at Cochrane Stadium where they’ll take on the Miami Redhawks.