Thompson's Late Tally Lifts Bulls Over Falcons
BOWLING GREEN, OH - In a part of the Mid-American Conference season where every point is viciously contested, the Buffalo women's soccer team claimed three big ones on Friday night, coming from behind to beat the Bowling Green Falcons 2-1 on the road. Kristin Markiewicz scored a goal early in the second half to tie the game, and Taylor Thompson scored the eventual game-winner in the 80th minute.
The Falcons came into the game with a 7-3-0 record at home in the all-time series, and had beaten the Bulls in every match between the two teams dating back to 2007. The win moves the Bulls to 4-9-2 overall and 2-4-1 in the MAC, while the Falcons move to 1-13-1 and 0-6-1 in conference play.
"Tonight was just a great win, we came out playing well but things didn't go our way early. I was proud of our girls to push and tie the game, then go out and get the game winner," head coach Michael Thomas said. "I think the team is riding high and we realize every point is hard to come by in the MAC. We had some games this year where we've just been unlucky, so to get that monkey off our back and win on the road was big for us."
Katie Kerr had a breakaway opportunity in the first 10 minutes of play, but it was blocked away. The Falcons would score the opening goal just a few minutes later in the 14th minute. Buffalo outshot the host 8-5 in the first half and put four shots on goal, but none would find paydirt.
The team would find its aggression on offense pay dividends early on in the second period thanks to a corner kick in the 55th minute. Sophie Therien put her kick in the box, and after Megan Giesen kept the ball alive, Kristin Markiewicz booted it home for her second tally of the season to tie the match.
Bowling Green's Madeline Wideman tried her best to answer with a quick goal, but Ainsley Wheldon made a pair of stops over the next six minutes of the game to preserve the tie. For the game, Wheldon made five saves. Meanwhile, the UB offense continued to pester the Falcon backline, with Courtney Mann putting a shot on goal and Katie Kerr careening a shot off the post in the 73rd minute. Kerr's penchant for shooting would soon lead to Thompson's goal in the 80th minute.
After Kerr's shot on goal was blocked away, Giesen again helped the team maintain possession and she passed the ball on to Thompson. The senior leader put away her second goal of the season to clinch the win. Giesen's two assists in the game set a new career high for the sophomore midfielder.
"Megan Giesen did a great job of keeping the balls alive in the box on both goals tonight, and Taylor has just been our best offensive player this year," Thomas said. "Without her efforts to get the assist on the tying goal against Northern Illinois or drawing the foul to earn our penalty kick against Ohio, we aren't in a situation where her goal tonight even matters."
The goal mattered a great deal indeed, as the Bulls are still in the thick of the MAC tournament race. With the top eight teams advancing to the postseason, the Bulls are currently tied for eighth in the conference with Ohio, who lost its Friday match to Eastern Michigan. With the team fighting so hard to make its second straight conference tournament, coach Thomas and the team were motivated by some familiar faces in the stands at Cochrane Field. The men's soccer team, which faces the Falcons tomorrow at 7 pm, came to cheer their counterparts to victory, a welcome sight for the road-weary women's squad.
"The men's soccer team gave us a big boost tonight, I don't know if we could've gutted out that win without their support," Thomas said after the match.
Next up will be a challenging match against perennial conference power Central Michigan on Sunday. The Chippewas are currently 6-1 in the MAC and are fighting for the number one overall seed. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 pm.