Falcons seek first win against Ohio University, Kent State in conference openers

Tara Jones and Tara Jones

The BG women’s soccer team opens up Mid-American Conference play this weekend with a trip to Ohio University Friday, Sept. 27, and then to Kent State Sunday, Sept. 29.

The 0-6-0 Falcons are still seeking their first win of the season.

One of Head Coach Lindsay Basalyga’s main focuses this year is figuring out who the Falcons are as a team. Basalyga feels BG’s nonconference play thus far has revealed many of the team’s strengths and weaknesses, which has helped in developing the team’s overall identity.

“I definitely think that we have started to establish our strengths as a team, and in finding our strengths, that’s identity, said Basalyga. “I definitely think through nonconference play we have established an identity that is going to make us who we are going into the MAC.”

The Falcons’ first opponent of the weekend, The Ohio University Bobcats, has a record of 4-2-2 and is currently on a five-match unbeaten streak.

The Bobcats, with Head Coach Aaron Rodgers in his first year as a collegiate head coach, are 1-2-1 at home.

Ohio leads the Falcons 10-2-4 on the series between the teams and has won the last 2 meetings. The Falcons fell to OU last year 1-0 at Cochrane Field. The Bobcats, returning 14 letterwinners and 7 starters, were picked to finish third in the East Division of the MAC preseason coaches poll.

Redshirt senior co-captain Jenny Fowler has had her fair share of encounters with Ohio, and has a good idea of what to expect from the Bobcats on Friday.

“I know from experience when we played them in the past they’re a really hard-working, blue-collar team,” Fowler said. “They’re really aggressive so I’m expecting that, and I’m expecting them to get forward a lot, but the same time I know that they leave themselves vulnerable for the counter attack.”

The Falcons’ other opponent this weekend, Kent State, sits at an overall record of 5-3-0, including a 4-0-0 record at home. Bowling Green leads the series 10-4-5, with last year’s battle at Cochrane ending in a 0-0 draw in double overtime. That game marked the tenth overtime match in 19 series meetings between the Falcons and the Golden Flashes. BG has only allowed one goal by Kent State since 2004, which came in 2011. The Golden Flashes have been picked to place second in the MAC East Division preseason coaches poll.

Freshman Haley Malaczewski believes the MAC has a reputation for its physicality. She is expecting a physical battle with Kent State on Sunday.

“I expect them to be a lot [more] physical because I’ve heard that MAC is way more physical and intense, so we’re expecting to be more ready to play,” Malaczewski said.

Friday’s match at Ohio is set for 4 p.m., and Sunday’s match at Kent State will start at 1 p.m.