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2013 MAC Soccer Season Preview: Western Michigan

The Western Michigan Broncos look to improve under fresh, youthful coaches.

Can the Broncos keep up their well play under young coaches?
Can the Broncos keep up their well play under young coaches?
WMU media file

Men's Soccer Team

Date Opponent
8/30 @ Butler
9/1 @ Michigan State
9/6 @ Wisconsin
9/8 @ Illinois-Chicago
9/13 vs Northern Kentucky^
9/15 @ Eastern Illinois^
9/20 vs Canisius
9/22 vs Milwaukee
10/2 @ Michigan
10/12 vs Buffalo*
10/15 @ Detroit
10/19 @ Hartwick*
10/22 vs IPFW
10/26 @ West Virginia*
10/30 @ Valparaiso
11/2 vs Bowling Green*
11/5 @ NIU*
11/9 vs Akron*
* MAC conference game
^ Eastern Illinois Classic

On January 2nd, Stu Riddle was stolen away left the Western Michigan program he rebuilt to join another rebuilding program, Buffalo. In Riddle's four years, he led the Broncos to back-to-back MAC Championship games in 2010 and 2011, and defeated the mighty Akron Zips in the semi-finals in 2011. Now stepping in his place is the fresh, young face of Chad Wiseman.

Wiseman, a Bronco graduate and former player, guided D-III Olivet to their best season ever last year, going 16-5-1.

That mark was also good enough for the best conference mark in the MIAA, the nation's oldest collegiate athletic conference. You can read his full bio here, but he has some good experiences with WMU as an assistant, like the 2003 MAC Championship.

His job is one that will be uphill. Even though the Broncos finished 11-6-2 last season, they must replace Shane Lyons, the leading scorer the past two seasons. Lyons finished with 8 goals and 2 assists despite missing 5 games with injuries and coming off the bench for 4 more. However, Wiseman will have the next 4 top scorers returning, with Jason Grant leading them up front.

Wiseman will also have a fresh netminder to break in, but Adriano Deabreu played well in his 2 appearances last season. Chase Rau, a Wisconsin transfer could also win the job, having earned 4 shutouts in 15 starts his freshman season. The competition should be fierce.

As for the schedule, the Broncos again get road trips to the two Big Ten teams in the state. They also open their MAC schedule against Riddle's Bulls, in Kalamazoo. I'm sure he'll receive a very warm welcome from Bronco fans (I'm very sincere about that as well. He deserves it). After that, they get their 4 most difficult MAC games to end the season over a 5 game, 15 day span, ending with a senior day game against the Zips.

Women's Soccer Team

Nate Norman, at the ripe age of 27 (even younger than P.J. Fleck), RETURNS in his 2nd season at the helm of the Lady Broncos after a 5-9-4 (1-5-4) campaign in his first season. Norman's bio is actually pretty simple: A former Notre Dame player, he was a GA until going pro for 2 seasons. After that, he was assistants at WMU and Miami for a season each before accepting the WMU Head Coaching position in 2012.

His young squad from last year returns nearly everyone, losing just 2 goals from last year's team and their top 4 scorers led by Rachel Chaney. They also return Michelle Watson in net. In all, if Norman can work his scoring magic that he used at WMU in 2010 and Miami in 2011 as an assistant, the Broncos should be fine with another year under Norman's system.

As for a schedule, the Broncos should have another .500 non-conference record before opening up against their MAC West rivals in Toledo, NIU, and Central. They do get Miami and Kent State, the top two teams from the East last season, at home, and close out their season with 6 home games over a 7 game span, with a lone trip to Athens, OH.

Date Opponent
8/23 @ Saint Louis
8/25 @ Iowa
9/1 vs Cleveland State
9/5 @ Wright State
9/8 @ Oakland
9/12 @ Northwestern
9/22 vs Western Illinois
9/27 @ Toledo*
9/29 vs NIU*
10/4 @ CMU*
10/6 @ BGSU*
10/11 vs Miami*
10/13 vs Ball State*
10/18 vs Kent State*
10/20 @ Ohio*
10/25 vs Akron*
10/27 vs Buffalo*
10/31* vs EMU*
* MAC conference game