Falcons to face West Virginia in semifinals of MAC Tournament


Men’s Soccer

Brandon Shrider and Brandon Shrider

The regular season is over, but the BG men’s soccer season continues as it prepares for the Mid-American Conference tournament.

Securing the number three seed after their 2-1 win over Northern Illinois on Nov. 8, the Falcons will take on two-seed West Virginia at host-school and one-seeded Akron on Friday.

The two teams played each other just a few weeks earlier in Morgantown, West Virginia, where the Mountaineers defeated the Falcons 2-1 in regulation.

This was the last loss for BG before sparking its 4-game winning streak to end the regular season.

Now, after a 6-day break, the Falcons will get a second chance to redeem themselves and continue on to the MAC tournament finals.

“We’re all really excited right now and pumped to get back on the field,” said junior defender Jake Genrich. “We’ve played this team before, so there’s not really any nerves, we just have to be prepared and play our game.”

This excitement very much surrounds the team as it continues to prepare for upcoming match. However, the team remains focused and has all intentions of playing its style of soccer.

“It’s exciting; it’s the longest week of our lives right now,” senior midfielder Danny Baraldi said. “We know who we have to watch out for and we’re getting ready for it, but we’re just going to come out and play our game and try to set the tone.”

The do-or-die style of this game is one that the Falcons have become all too familiar with in recent weeks.

Essentially needing a win in each of its past four games to earn a spot in the MAC tournament, BG has been playing with this win-or-go-home mindset.

Now, to continue its 2014 season, the BG men’s soccer team must find a way to put the pressure aside and get its fifth consecutive win.

“We know we can play with them [West Virginia], but I think there’s a bit of pressure because we know we can beat them,” said head coach Eric Nichols. “Now it’s more concise and clear on what it’s going to take to win, less guessing involved, we just need to deliver.”

They have to play strong and work harder than West Virginia in order to get the result they want, Genrich and Baraldi said.

“We have to outwork teams and show them that we’re a blue-collar team,” Baraldi said.

In the end, the Falcons face a tough test against the Mountaineers as they look to get a win in their biggest game of the season.

A winless spring season followed by a 13-win regular season has BG set up to secure another one of its season goals.

“This is what we’ve worked for all year,” Baraldi said. “It’s finally here, so hopefully things will go our way and we’ll get into the finals.”