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Falcons take on Eastern Michigan, Western Michigan at home over weekend

The BG women’s soccer team returns to Cochrane Field this weekend for two more Mid-American Conference showdowns. The Falcons begin their season-long four-match home stand against Eastern Michigan on Friday, Oct. 4 and Western Michigan Sunday, Oct. 6.

The 0-8-0 Falcons continue to look for their first win. Head Coach Lindsay Basalyga hopes the four-match home stretch will give the Falcons the added confidence to get their first win since they have forced both home matches they have had into overtime.

“We have yet to be beat in regulation on our home field and I think we have an added confidence just sleeping in our own bed,” said Basalyga. “We love playing in front of our home crowd. I definitely think being home for four games in a row will hopefully change the spirit that we haven’t had on the road necessarily.”

Eastern Michigan comes to BG with a 5-4-1 overall record and a 2-0-0 start in the MAC. EMU leads the conference with 25 goals and 29 assists and ranks 24th in the nation in scoring offense. The Eagles brought back 20 letter winners, including 10 starters, from a 2012 team that went 11-6-2 overall and 8-3-0 in the MAC. The Falcons trail EMU 11-8-1 in the series between the two teams, including a 2-1 Eastern Michigan win over BG last year.

Junior Ashley Garr knows Friday’s matchup will be a tough game but could also be a big first win for the Falcons.

“Eastern’s going to be a very tough team,” Garr said. “They’re 2-0 currently so it would be a very big win for us to get right away and to start us going for the MAC. We have to come in really hard and try to get a win out of it.”

The Broncos of Western Michigan sit at an overall record of 4-3-2 and a MAC record of 2-0-0. They will face Central Michigan Friday before coming to Cochrane Field on Sunday. WMU has won three consecutive matches and scored at least four goals in each of those three games. Last weekend the Broncos scored nine total goals in wins over Toledo and Northern Illinois. Western Michigan leads BG 12-7-1 in the series and has won four consecutive meetings over the Falcons.

Redshirt junior Kylie Briem believes Sunday’s match against the Broncos is going to be a challenge for the Falcons but will come down to the team that plays harder.

“Western Michigan has always been a really tough game for us,” Briem said. “I mean it’s definitely going to be a battle just like every other MAC team. It’s always really scrappy, [and] it’s always really physical. I mean the soccer may not look the best at times, but it’s definitely [coming down to] who’s going to have the most heart and who’s going to play the hardest.”

With two offensively strong teams coming to town, Coach Basalyga knows her team will have to work on being a stronger second-half team to close out with a win. The focus will be on the first 15 minutes of the second half where the Falcons tend to give up a goal when they are leading or tied going into the half. BG has allowed a total of 7 more goals in the second half throughout the season, only giving up 6 total goals in the first half but 13 total goals in the second half.

“I think it’s just a matter of focus,” Basalyga said. “I do think we are a team that panics a little bit when we either have the lead or when we’re tied going into the second half. I think that just comes with confidence and being able to kind of fight through the first 15 minutes of the second half when we either have a lead or we’re tied.”

Friday’s match against Eastern Michigan will begin at 7 p.m. and Sunday’s is set to start at 1 p.m., both at Cochrane Field.

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