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September 21, 2023

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Falcons beat NIU to qualify for MAC Tournament

Men’s Soccer

With its season on the line, the BG men’s soccer team took a 2-goal lead and never looked back.

The Falcons fired two shots in the first half and scored on both of them. They held a 2-0 lead over Northern Illinois at halftime.

Thirty-two minutes into the game, Joe Sullivan, having missed the last game due to a red card, scored an unassisted goal over the goalkeeper to the back post.

Just five minutes later, Max Auden hit a one-timer into the back of the net on a pass from Ryan James.

However, the Falcons wouldn’t let themselves get comfortable despite the sizable lead.

“We kept playing for the next goal,” said head coach Eric Nichols.

Northern Illinois answered back fifteen minutes into the second half with a goal on the play of a free kick.

However, the final 30 minutes of the game would remain scoreless without a shot-on-goal from either team.

“We got a couple quick goals and then withstood their pressure. It was a top-notch performance under pressure by our guys,” Nichols said.

The win for the Falcons secured them a spot in the Mid-American Conference tournament, fulfilling the primary goal that BG had since the beginning of the season.

“We’re really excited. This [making it to the MAC tournament] was one of our goals, our main goal,” Nichols said.

BG closed out its regular season with its second conference win and 13th win overall.

Being able to get a MAC win on the road is huge, especially getting a berth into the conference tournament, Nichols said.

The win was the Falcons’ fourth in a row, first win in regulation in more than a month and gives the Falcons an 8-1 record this season when scoring at least two goals.

The 13-5-1 final regular season record by BG is its most wins in a season in 17 years. The Falcons went 18-6 that season.

With the win, the Falcons advance to the MAC tournament after missing the tournament last season.

The Falcons will take on two-seeded West Virginia in the first round on Friday, Nov. 14.

A win would move BG into the MAC tournament finals against the winner of Akron and Western Michigan.

Conference struggles and overall season record aside, now the Falcons will begin a new season.

“Now we have new life, a new season, nothing to lose and everything to play for,” Nichols said.

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