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Nonrevenue Rundown: The Men’s Soccer gauntlet is here

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The first half of the MAC Field Hockey season didn’t reveal much in the way of favorites — two weeks ago we were looking at a surging Longwood team as a mild surprise. But since then two familiar teams have filtered to the top.

After needing two overtimes to decide a MAC Champion in 2015, Miami and Kent State have separated themselves from the pack. Kent State fell narrowly to Ohio State before matching the RedHawks’ blowout win over Central Michigan, while Miami topped Missouri State before a nice overtime win over Indiana.

For now, the Flashes have the advantage, with Alison Harmatz and Silvia Malgosa earning Conference Player of the Week nods over Miami’s Carla Romagosa and Makenna Colby, a five-spot lead in the RPI, and three conference wins to the RedHawks’ two, but it’s tough to see a loss for either before their showdown on Friday the 14th.

Matches of the Week:

Not a whole lot other than perhaps seeing if Longwood can find their groove again, with a pair of MAC matches at Miami and at Ball State.

Volleyball

For pure offensive brilliance, and also because there haven’t been many opportunities to highlight Buffalo Volleyball, I have to point to the Bulls’ Cassie Shado against Akron in UB’s first MAC win, a five-setter. Shado’s 22 kills aren’t quite the most in the conference this year, but on just 31 swings they were easily the most efficient the MAC has seen. Shado’s was one of a number of season-best performances from UB at Akron, but she finished the weekend with MAC East Offensive Player of the Week honors.

Elsewhere, Toledo continues to impress at 3-1 in conference play after finding only three conference wins in the last two years combined. Sophomore Carly Townsend is right now the most productive setter in the MAC and the Rockets as a whole limit opponents’ blocks as well as anyone.

Staying in Northwest Ohio, don’t be fooled by Bowling Green’s 1-3 MAC record. The Falcons were working on a seven-match winning streak before conference play and in their first three matches faced Miami, Northern Illinois, and Ohio, who currently combine for an 11-1 MAC record. The Falcons are a good team and the schedule is primed for them to make a move.

Matches of the Week:

Ohio-Kent on Thursday and NIU-Ball State on Friday are the headliners, and Toledo-NIU on Saturday is the only other match between winning teams on the weekend. The Huskies look like one of the best two teams in the conference right now, and can really solidify that with a pair of wins.

Men’s Soccer

MAC play is here, with all six teams facing off Friday and Saturday. As a result, the week behind us was a little slow, with only Bowling Green picking up a win, and the coming weekend holds all the intrigue.

The conference race this year should be a doozy, as Akron has looked more vulnerable than usual after a hot start — I’d like to think no MAC upset would be more surprising than SMU over the Zips — and there’s not a whole lot at all separating Bowling Green, Buffalo, West Virginia, and Western Michigan. One of those teams will be left out of the postseason, and given the unpredictability of any one soccer match and of a five-game schedule, maybe the MAC should consider a double round-robin in its scheduling.

Matches of the Week:

All. Buffalo’s at Akron, Northern Illinois at WMU, and Bowling Green at West Virginia.

Women’s Soccer

Two teams managed to win both their matches on the weekend. Buffalo needed a bounce-back and got a pair of home shutouts even without offensive driver Julia Benati, but the story is Kent State, who found a good win over Northern Illinois before shredding Western Michigan 5-1 on Sunday. Jenna Hellstrom had three assists on the weekend, and the Golden Flashes look like the class of the MAC, especially now that they’re the only 4-0-0 team in conference play.

Northern Illinois is a mild surprise, though only one of their three wins is notable, and the middle of the East Division is both a bit of a muddle and unlikely to sort out much this weekend.

Matches of the Week:

NIU-Miami on Friday will be a good test for both teams, neither of whom have me convinced they’re championship contenders yet. Western Michigan also faces Ball State on Friday in a matchup of arguably 2015’s two top teams.

On Saturday, Miami-WMU is another chance for each team to add a quality result, while Buffalo at Kent State could be anywhere from a statement win for the Bulls to a mild speedbump for the Flashes.

Cross Country

The EMU Women are nationally ranked! The Eagles took third at the Notre Dame Invite, topping defending national champion New Mexico, and jumped from receiving votes all the way to 16th in the nation with the result. The Ypsilanti men took twelfth in the meet, both groups finishing well ahead of the other MAC programs in attendance.

This coming weekend is a lighter one for the MAC before much of the conference gears up for Pre-Nationals in two weeks.