Twice is nice for BG soccer

Matt Deighton and Matt Deighton

The BGSU men’s soccer team won consecutive games for the second time this season and earned its first MAC victory in last week’s final regular season games at Cochrane Stadium.

Senior leader Omari Aldridge struck at clutch times in each game and scored his tenth and eleventh goals of the season, leading the Falcons (4-15-2) to a 3-1 victory over Cleveland State last Wednesday and a thrilling, come-from-behind win against first-year MAC opponent IPFW on Sunday.

Aldridge’s goal in the 85th minute of Sunday’s match broke a 1-1 tie against the IPFW Mastodons and sealed the Falcons’ first MAC win in the final game of the regular season.

In the final stretch of his BGSU soccer career, Aldridge’s goals not only helped lift the Falcons to two solid season-ending wins, but they also tied him with three other Falcons for eighth place on the all-time single-season goal list.

A year ago, Aldridge scored nearly a third of the Falcons’ total goals (six), and has outdone that proportion this season, scoring 11 out of the team’s 20 goals.

“He’s a dynamic player,” said BG coach Fred Thompson. “He has played with a very inexperienced team over the past two years and has risen above expectations. He will go on to be a great player in the future.”

Aldridge’s goal in the final stretch in last Wednesday’s game against winless Cleveland State lifted the Falcons to a defining and cushioning 3-1 lead and ultimately put the Vikings to rest.

“It was a battle between two young teams who had nothing to lose,” Thompson said.

In a game defined by defense, the Falcons outshined the Vikings who could not overcome BG’s early 2-0 first half lead.

Justin Kim and Abiola Sandy scored on a pair of unassisted goals in the half. It was Kim’s second goal of the season and Sandy’s first, as the duo kept pressure on CSU’s Anthony DeMarco, forcing a goalkeeper switch during halftime.

Despite an early second half goal by Kim Kroken, the Vikings were shut down by the Falcon defense, and Aldridge’s late goal on a Justin Kim assist sealed it for BG, as they went on to win by a final of 3-1.

“We missed several opportunities in the game, but Omari [Aldridge’s goal finally got us what we needed to stay enough ahead and pull off the win,” said Thompson.

In the final game of the season on Sunday and the first ever conference match-up against IPFW, Francisco Sanchez and Omari Aldridge scored late in the game as the Falcons rallied from a one-goal lead to stun the visiting Mastodons.

The Falcons fell and remained behind by a score for the entire first half as a result of a Victor Webb goal, but came out in the second half with something to prove in the final game.

Sanchez’s goal tied it up in the 83rd minute of regulation. Less than a minute later, Justin Kim fed Aldridge for the second time in as many games to jump ahead and secure the come-from-behind win.

“It was a very exciting conclusion to our season,” said Thompson.

The Falcons will play Western Michigan at 3 p.m. Tuesday in the Mid-American Conference tournament.