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MAC Nonrevenue sports roundup: Another B1G win in Women’s Soccer, Northwest Ohio highlights Volleyball action

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The MAC got another win over the Big Ten in Women’s Soccer this week, another program threatens to join Akron in the Men’s Soccer national rankings, and northwestern Ohio dominates the Volleyball scene on the weekend.

Women’s Soccer

For the second straight weekend, the MAC got a win over the Big Ten as Miami beat Illinois thanks to an overtime goal from Olivia Winnett. The RedHawks were outshot 17-7 on the night but survived thanks to a shutout performance from Vic Maniaci. The winner was Winnett’s second, both coming in double overtime, in her freshman season. It will be interesting to see how the season plays out for Miami, who have been a strong defensive team the last few years but are right now relying on Maniaci to make more saves than all but one other keeper in the conference.

We also saw a pair of wins over the ACC as Kent State and Ball State — each among the favorites in their division — topped Pittsburgh and Louisville, respectively. Kent State’s Jenna Hellstrom may be the most dangerous offensive force in the conference. Just make sure to look past her counting stats, as she’s only seen action in four games so far this season.

Otherwise, CMU’s Alexis Pelafas is up to 9 goals on the season, Buffalo’s Carissima Cutrona 6, and Akron’s Chloe Allen 5 after a hat trick against Robert Morris on Thursday.

Men’s Soccer

It’s impossible to ignore the big name here: Akron bounced back from a winless Labor Day weekend with a pair of 2-0 victories over Oregon State and UC Santa Barbara. Skye Harter scored both goals against OSU and Ben Lundt only needed to make four saves for a pair of shutouts on the weekend. Look for the Zips to move back into the top ten in the polls this week.

Elsewhere, Buffalo received votes in last week’s polls and added to their resume this weekend, topping VMI and Liberty on the road to move to 6-0-0, the only team in the country that can boast a perfect start through six games. Reigning MAC Player of the Year Russell Cicerone continues to lead the nation with 8 goals after scoring the game-winner in overtime against the Flames.

Western Michigan (to Pacific) and Bowling Green (to Eastern Illinois) both saw their first losses of the season on the weekend.

With only six teams in the conference, it’s still a good few weekends until MAC play begins, but mark your calendars now as the MAC enjoy five of the top eight spots in the NSCAA Great Lakes Regional Poll.

Volleyball

Bowling Green and Toledo swept the conference Player of the Week awards, with outside hitter Jelena Sunjic and libero Madeline Garda helping the Falcons to a 3-0 record at the EIU Panther Classic and middle blocker Rachel Vidourek and libero Maurissa Leonard spurring the Rockets to a 2-1 weekend at their own inviational.

Sunjic averaged 16 kills and Garda 37 digs a match for Bowling Green while Vidourek hit nearly .500 on the weekend for the Rockets. Sunjic and Vidourek are 1-2 in the conference in hitting percentage, though Miami’s Paige Hill is not far behind.

Perhaps the highlight of the weekend was Northern Illinois’ trip to Hawai’i for a matches against Utah Valley, #6 Washington, and the #14 Rainbow Wahine. The Huskies went 0-3 on the weekend, falling back to the rest of the conference record-wise, but likely boast the toughest weekend any MAC team will see all year after this one.

Field Hockey

The MAC only found four wins in fifteen tries on the weekend in field hockey, with no team winning more than once. Perhaps Ohio had the strongest (certainly the busiest) weekend, starting off with a four-goal showing in a loss to Rutgers, dropping a narrow match to Cornell, and then beating Towson. Kendall Ballard and Lina Trucco each scored a pair over the three matches for Ohio as the Bobcats snapped a five-game losing streak.

Otherwise, Longwood scored a pair in an overtime loss to VCU before finding a pair of goals from Leonie Verstraete in a 4-3 win over Davidson, and Miami beat New Hampshire 4-0 and fell in an overtime heartbreaker to Ohio State on Sunday.

Cross Country

Not everyone was in action, and much like last week, it’s early enough in the season that teams aren’t rolling out their top groups, but Akron, EMU, Kent State, and Northern Illinois ran this weekend.

The Eagles took second to Bucknell in both the Men’s and Women’s races at Detroit’s Titan Invite even with notably young lineups. The defending MAC Champions in both Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, EMU will really have a chance to shine at the end of this month in South Bend before working towards the conference meet.

Akron and Kent State found themselves in the same meet at a new course in northeast Ohio, with the Zips Men besting the Golden Flashes while Kent found a win over their rivals on the Women’s side.

The Northern Illinois women claimed a victory in the busiest meet of the weekend, outrunning Iowa, Illinois, and a host of other Illinois schools with a 1-5-10-11-12 finish. NIU’s three-through-five runners came in just four seconds apart, and their sixth just four seconds further behind in the type of tight pack running that helps teams gut out narrow results in big meets like this one.