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September 21, 2023

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Men’s soccer ends weekend with win against Malone, draw against Michigan

The BG men’s soccer team played two games over the holiday weekend.

The first was the Falcons’ season opener against Malone University, which they won 5-0, and their second game of the weekend was against the No. 14 ranked Michigan Wolverines, whom they tied 1-1.

The Falcons were the better team that night at Cochrane Field as they found goals from five different players, which allowed Head Coach Eric Nichols to rest his starter’s legs and get the younger players some minutes.

“It was great to get those guys minutes because there isn’t a week guy on the roster,” Nichols said. “To be able to give them minutes is a testament to them and just shows how much trust we have in their play.”

This was the team’s first shutout of the season including the preseason matches as well. Goalkeeper Michael Wiest and the defense were not tested much as Wiest was only forced to make one save.

“The team did an absolute great job,” Wiest said. “The guys did a great job getting behind the ball, stopping shots and the midfielders won every ball.”

Monday night, the Falcons went up against a tougher opponent in No. 14 Michigan. The Falcons have beaten Michigan two years in a row and they knew this would be a physical match according to Midfielder Joe Sullivan.

Right from the start of the game, there was a lot of pushing and shoving going around and about 15 minutes in the ref was seen warning many of the players from both sides. With all of the physical play the Falcons were making they could not put a shot in the goal.

“I thought the first 30 minutes we were locking them down and creating our own chances,” Nichols said. “We had good rhythm on both sides of the ball, we had good movement when we had it and we got it back when we lost it.”

Michigan had their own section of attacking time in the first half except they capitalized on it first with a goal from Fabio Periera four minutes before halftime. Right after that goal though, Michigan midfielder Tyler Arnone made a tackle the referee thought was dangerous and was issued a red card and kicked out of the game. The physical play continued a few minutes later, before a throw in Falcon defender Zach Schewee was seen shoving a Michigan player straight to the ground and that earned him a yellow card.

“I think we did a very good job of composing ourselves mentally on the field,” Nichols said. “I think the referee would have loved to even that game out and kick somebody else out of the game.”

With the red card coming so close to half time it gave the Falcons the entire second half to play with a man advantage and get that tying goal. Michigan fell back into a more defensive formation which allowed the Falcons to possess the ball more. The Falcons had many opportunities in that second half but did not score the tying goal until Joey D’Agostino scored off of an assist from Ryan Comisky and Brandon Silva.

“We just knew we had to get after them and not think about the man advantage,” Midfielder Brandon Silva said. “We were just worried about coming out and getting our goal.”

The Falcons had another opportunity late in the second half when forward Anthony Grant deflected the ball into the net for what seemed to be the game-winning goal until the referee called offsides. The Falcons had a few more attempts after that but none scored and the game went into overtime 1-1.

“I thought we had a goal called back,” Nichols said. “From my angle I could not tell if he was offsides or not but it looked like it was going in even if he [Grant] had not touched it.”

The two overtimes showed just what the second half showed; plenty of chances from the Falcons but no goals. Michigan had a few opportunities as well but Wiest made a few saves late in each of the overtime periods.

“They got out quicker than I would have liked them to I thought we should have locked them in better,” Nichols said. “Wiest is a good player he did what we expect him to do; for us to win or get a result from this game we knew he was going to have to do something big and he did.”

The Falcons will be back in action Sept. 6 when they play Marquette at the Panther invitation in Milwaukee. They will not return home for a game until Sept. 16 when they will face another Big Ten foe, the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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