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Soccer splits two in tourney

The BG women’s soccer team split a pair of games in this weekend’s Falcon Classic. After a 7-3 victory over Duquesne University on Friday, the squad fell to Pittsburgh in a 2-0 loss.

The highlight of the weekend came in Friday’s game, as senior forward Kristy Coppes scored an impressive six goals to break the Mid-American Conference record for goals scored in a single match.

Samantha Meister also scored for BG in Friday’s game.

On Sunday, the rain stopped just in time for the opening kickoff, but the wet field conditions left both teams struggling to gain good footing and track down bad bounces. Just 7:32 in to the game, Pittsburgh forward Kristina Francois trapped a well-placed cross from teammate Rachel Vecchio and sent it past BG keeper Ali Shingler for the first goal of the game.

The Falcons had few quality chances to score, as Pittsburgh played solid defense and a strong possession game. Both sides played aggressively, with BG committing five fouls to Pittsburgh’s one in the first half.

With just under seven minutes left to play in the half, Pittsburgh’s Katie Surma sent a long cross into BG’s box where Vecchio trapped it and buried it near post to put the Panthers up 2-0.

With less than a minute left, BG had a corner kick. The Falcons packed the box with players, but were not able to convert as time ran out.

“We were disappointed in the way we performed in the first half,” head coach Andy Richards said. “It wasn’t a lack of effort, it was a lack of good ideas and good decisions.”

The team made some changes at the break, including starting the second half with keeper Jenifer Kernahan in goal, and saw their play improve in the final half.

While neither team scored in the second half, BG made several offensive runs but couldn’t seem to put together a scoring attack. Defensively, the Falcons stopped the drives of Francois and Vecchio, who attacked the box with dangerous speed.

“The second half we had a much better performance. I was pleased with the adjustments we made as a team,” Richards said.

Richards noted that the first six games on the team’s schedule are non-conference games.

“There’s always some rustiness at the beginning of the year,” Richards said. “In these [non-conference] games we’ll need to iron out some creases. We hope to put those right.”

With 19 returning players, the team has no lack of experience and with a talented freshman class, headed by standout Tiernay Tilford, the Falcons shouldn’t have too much trouble ironing out those creases. Tilford, Coppes, and forward Britt Anderson were all named to the Classic’s all-tournament team this weekend.

The squad’s next match will be against Michigan State next Friday at 4 p.m. at Cochrane Field.

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