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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Women claim MAC title; shutout Central

The BGSU women’s soccer team went from underdogs to champions this weekend, claiming the Mid-American Conference Tournament crown. The eighth-seeded Falcons beat Western Michigan in a 4-1 semi-final game before battling third-seeded Central Michigan to 2-0 shutout victory.

The MAC Tournament title is the Falcons first ever and allows the team to move on to the NCAA tournament. The squad made it to the championship game in the MAC last year, but was unable to win. Last year’s loss makes this year’s win that much sweeter for the team. Head coach Andy Richards voiced the team’s excitement about making it to the NCAA’s.

“It’s unbelievable,” Richards said. “It’s just that exciting. We do tremendously well when we’re under pressure. Whoever we play [in the NCAA Tournament], we’ll give them a great game.”

The Falcons definitely gave Western a great game, after playing the Broncos to a 2-2 tie in the regular season. Kristy Coppes opened scoring early, scoring 4:15 into the match on an assist from Natalie Sampiller. Fifteen minutes later, Western’s Andrea Tyler scored to tie the game.

In the second half, Coppes was far from finished, giving BG the lead at 61:46. Megan Rapp had the assist. The Falcons had several opportunities in the half, converting again with 6:48 remaining. It was Coppes again on a one-timer from Britt Anderson, completing the first hat trick in BG’s MAC Tournament history. BG’s Katie Piening also got in on the scoring action when she scored an unassisted goal with just under five minutes remaining in the match to seal the victory for the Falcons.

Despite the convincing win, Richards gave Western credit for a hard-fought game.

“[Western] played very, very well,” he said.

BG keeper Ali Shingler was solid in goal for the team with seven saves in a complete match effort.

Sunday, the team faced Central in their second consecutive appearance in the tournament finals. Shingler held the Chippewas scoreless on her way to a career-high 11 saves in the shutout.

The team had no trouble on the offensive end as Gina Rossi put the Falcons on the board at 22:02, burying a pass from Coppes in the Central goal. Just over six minutes later, Nikki Pucillo provided the insurance goal from inside the box. Julie Trundle and Leah Eggleton had assists on the play.

Richards said the squad talked about focusing their mentality at the half. BG stayed strong mentally in the second half, not letting Central edge back into the game.

“Our mentality was first class. We defended very hard,” Richards said.

Their tough defense and steady offense helped the squad make history as the lowest seed to ever win the MAC Tournament.

“It’s hard to put it into words, it’s so exciting for us,” Richards said after the game. “Losing last year’s game was a huge motivational force. You don’t want to be on the receiving end of a loss in a championship game after doing it the year before.”

Richards credits the team’s depth and versatility with carrying the team this far in the post-season.

“We have some key players, but we also have a lot of other talent. That’s one of the factors that has enabled us to do so well this year,” he said.

Molly Bremen, Coppes, Pucillo, and Ashley Wentzel were all named to the MAC’s All Tournament Team.

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