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2023 MACtion on the Pitch: Week 8

Highlighted by six shutouts, we’ve passed the halfway point in MAC play.

NIU celebrates after Sahara Zingano (#22) converts a penalty in a 1-0 win over Miami
NIU Athletics

Welcome back to MACtion on the Pitch, where we take a look at what happened over the course of the week in women’s soccer.

We are now over halfway done with regular season MACtion, but there is still plenty more to be played. Let’s take a look at the past week:

Kent State at Ball State (Final: 3-1 Ball State)

The Cardinals welcomed the Flashes to Muncie. At the 13:46 mark, Ball State’s Lexi Fraley would open the scoring with an assist from Tori Monaco. The Cardinals would add another goal in the 37th minute. Emily Roper would be assisted by Kaelyn Valleau, and Ball State would extend the lead to 2-0. In the 66th minute, Kent State’s Alisa Arthur would pull one back to make the score 2-1. Ball State would add a third goal in the 87th minute. Lexi Fraley would score again off another assist from Tori Monaco. The Cardinals would win by a final of 3-1. Ball State wins their third conference game, while Kent State drops their second game in a row.

Northern Illinois at Eastern Michigan (Final: 2-0 NIU)

In a back and forth start, NIU would be the first to strike. Lea Gruennagel would find the back of the net for the Huskies to go up 1-0. NIU held a 6-1 shot advantage throughout the first half. The Huskies would score again in the 60th minute. Edith Delgado would score off an assist by Sahara Zingano. The final whistle would sound, and NIU would come away with the 2-0 win. NIU won their second game in a row, while Eastern Michigan dropped their second conference loss.

Toledo at Ohio (Final: 1-0 Toledo)

It would be a tug o’ war game for 20 minutes, but Toledo would take advantage first. Off an assist from Olivia Dault, Toledo’s Kaema Amachree would find the back of the net to put the Rockets up 1-0. There would be no more scoring, as the Rockets would notch their second conference win. Ohio, who held a 17-4 shot advantage for the game, would drop their thirrd conference loss. Toledo’s goalkeeper Brielle Young notched the four-save shutout. This was Toledo’s first win against Ohio since 2017.

Buffalo at Central Michigan (Final: 2-2 Draw)

The Bulls and Chippewas faced off in Mount Pleasant. Buffalo got off to a fast start in the third minute, when— you guessed it— Katie Krohn notched her 11th goal of the year off an assist from Sarah Woods to go up 1-0 early. Central would equalize in the 31st minute with a goal from Claudia Muessig, putting the score at 1-1 at halftime. The score would remain tied until the 74th minute. Central Michigan’s Jaelyn Dobrowolski found the net with an assist from Matilda Melin. In the 84th minute, Buffalo’s Arianna Zumpano would equalize with assists from Ellie Simmons and Leah Wengender. The game ended in a 2-2 draw. This was Buffalo’s second straight draw, while it was Central’s first draw in conference play.

Bowling Green at Miami (Final: 3-2 BGSU)

The Falcons took on the RedHawks at Bobby Kramig Field, with the visitors scoring 5:30 into the game. Lexi Czerwien was credited with the opening goal with an assist from Brynn Gardner. Miami would find the equalizer in the 20th minute off a Haley Anspach goal. In the 31st minute, Bowling Green’s Ellie Pool would break the deadlock off an assist from Brynn Gardner, Gardner’s second of the night. 3:15 later, BG’s Katie Cox curled in a free kick to make the score 3-1. In the 42nd minute, Miami’s Taylor Hamlett pulled one back. Assisted by Camber Hayes, Miami trailed 3-2 at the halftime break— which would ultimately be the final score. Bowling Green would earn MAC win number 4, while Miami would drop their fourth MAC contest. Despite Miami having the 15-8 shot advantage, the Falcon defense and goalkeeper Lili Berg were a brick wall in the second half.

Western Michigan at Akron (Final: 2-0 WMU)

Western would get off to a fast start in this road contest, with Emily Pagett scoring the opener in the fourth minute, assisted by Jen Blitchok and Abby Werthman to go up 1-0 early. Akron only got one shot off in the first half, leaving the halftime score at the same 1-0 margin. In the 60th minute, Western’s Abby Werthman would score the second goal for the Broncos. Assisted by Jen Blitchok, the Broncos would win the game 2-0. Bronco goalkeeper Lauren Boafo only needed one save for the shutout. It’s noted that Western held a 17-2 shot advantage. Western moved to 3-0-2 in MAC play after this game. Akron still has yet to find that first conference win.

Central Michigan at Kent State (Final: 3-1 Kent State)

After much back and forth play at Dix Stadium, Alisa Arthur would put Kent State up 1-0 in the 39th minute, a score which held up until the halftime break. Shots would be even at the break, with each team booting five attempts. In the 59th minute, Kent’s Emma Barnett would score their second goal of the day off an assist from Alanna Raimondo. Central would concede a penalty and Josie Morgan would put Kent State up 3-0. Central would get on the board in the 86th minute on Matilda Melin’s score off an assist from Elizabeth Chlystun, but it was much too late as Kent State won 3-1 to clinch their fourth MAC game. Central would drop to four losses in MAC play.

Kent State celebrates a goal in a 3-1 victory over Central Michigan
David A. Cleveland/Kent State Athletics

Eastern Michigan at Bowling Green (Final: 3-2 BGSU)

The Falcons only needed 2:48 to get on the board against the visiting Eagles, as Ellie Pool’s corner kick would find the foot of Taylor Green to put the Falcons up 1-0. Fast forward to the 29th minute, and Eastern’s Olivia Sipsock would equalize the game 1-1 with an assist from Meagan Lukowski. After Bowling Green had a chance to go back up, Eastern had a quick counter attack and Meagan Lukowski would score off an assist from Lily Spotak to put the Eagles up 2-1 in the 42nd minute. Just past the hour mark, Brynn Gardner tipped a nifty through ball to Ellie Pool, and Pool would score the equalizer for a 2-2 game. With 2:01 left in the game, BG’s Lizzie Bultynck would find a running Brynn Gardner to score the game winning goal, propelling BG to their fifth MAC win of the season— and saddling EMU with their third league loss— by a margin of 3-2.

Ball State at Buffalo (Final: 5-0 Ball State)

The Cardinals face off against the Bulls in a rematch of the 2022 MAC Tournament Championship final, and it was not partcularly close. Ball State only needed 11:44 to get on the board first, as Avery Fenchel scored to put the Cardinals up 1-0. Ball State would go up 2-0 in the 27th minute off of a goal from Lexi Fraley before Avery Fenchel found her second scoring strike in the 37th minute to push the halftime margin to 3-0. It would not stop there, as Lexi Fraley would score her second goal of the day in the 54th minute and Emily Roper would add Ball State’s fifth goal in the 64th minute to pad the stats and bring the game to its final tally. Buffalo couldn’t wait for this one to end, as Ball State earned their 4th MAC win, while the Bulls lost their second MAC game.

Ohio at Western Michigan (Final: 1-1 Draw)

The Bobcats traveled to Kalamazoo to take on the Broncos. No scoring would happen, even with a 10-5 shot advantage for the Broncos. Western’s Lauren Boafo made one save, and Ohio’s Celeste Sloma made three saves in the first half. In the 56th minute, Ohio’s Shae Robertson would break the deadlock and put the Bobcats up 1-0. With 5:24 left in the game, Western’s Jenna Blackburn would net the equalizer. This game would end in a draw. Ohio earned their first MAC draw, while Western earned their 3rd MAC draw.

Akron at Toledo (Final: 3-0 Toledo)

The Zips traveled to face the Rockets to set the scene for Toledo’s senior day. We extend our congratulations to Karson Hill, Emily Mann, Grace Turski, Olivia Watson, and Caylee Jozefov for their careers in the Glass City! Neither team would take an advantage until the 24th minute. Toledo’s Brooklyn Whitehead would score off an assist from Grace Turski, and the Rockets went up 1-0. Despite Akron having the 7-3 shot advantage, they would find themselves down at the half. In the 55th minute, Mia Leonetti extended Toledo’s advantage to 2-0. In the 59th minute, Toledo’s Olivia Dault scored Toledo’s third goal of the day with an assist from Grace Turski. Toledo won 3-0, earning their third conference win. Akron, yet again, is still looking for conference win number one.

Toledo celebrates a goal in a 3-0 win over Akron
Evan Procaccini/Toledo Athletics

Miami at Northern Illinois (Final: 1-0 Northern Illinois)

The Redhawks traveled to DeKalb to take on the Huskies. We want to extend our congratulations to Marianna Neau, Sadie McGill, Amara Thompkins, Abby Adams, Jamie Ward, Madison Frazer, Abby McHugh, Sahara Zingano, and Kierah Meier! After their festivities, the game would get underway. Miami would hold a small 4-3 shot advantage, but both teams went into halftime at 0-0. Just 4:59 into the second half, Miami conceded a penalty, and NIU’s Sahara Zingano would convert to put the Huskies up 1-0 early in the second half. That would be all that NIU needed as they won their third MAC game. Miami drops their fifth MAC loss.

MAC Players of the Week

Offensive Player of the Week

Lexi Fraley, junior forward, Ball State

The Lafayette, Indiana native scored four goals this week with braces against Kent State and Buffalo. Fraley was crucial for the Cardinals to keep them in second place alone.

Co-Defensive Players of the Week

Sadie McGill, redshirt senior goalkeeper, Northern Illinois

The Fort Worth, Texas native kept two clean sheets in 180 minutes of action. With three straight shutouts, she’s helped propel NIU up in the standings table.

Brielle Young, redshirt freshman Goalkeeper, Toledo

The Marysville, Ohio native posted 177 shutout minutes this weekend. As part of three straight shutouts as well, Young has been crucial for the Rockets to move up in the standings table.

Goals of the Week

Our first goal of the week goes to Eastern Michigan. Ella Holland starts the quick counter, Lily Spotak then passes to Meagan Lukowski who catches the Falcons off guard. A great goal in a late tough loss! (Credit: EMU Soccer/X)

Our second— and final—goal of the week goes to Bowling Green’s Katie Cox. A free kick stunner that gave BG the advantage they needed to beat Miami in the rain. You can’t go wrong with this bench celebration, either. (Credit: BGSU Women’s Soccer/X)

Moment of the Week

Congratulations are in order to Ball State’s Lexi Fraley. Fraley was named to the Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week! (Credit: Ball State Soccer/X)


  1. BGSU (5-0-1)
  2. Ball St (4-0-2)
  3. WMU (3-0-3)
  4. Kent (4-2-0)
  5. Toledo (3-2-1)
  6. NIU (3-2-1)
  7. Buffalo (2-2-2)
  8. Ohio (2-3-1)
  9. EMU (1-3-2)
  10. CMU (1-4-1)
  11. Miami (1-5-0)
  12. Akron (0-6-0)

Upcoming Schedule

Each team has five games left in the regular season. Here’s a look at next week’s schedule:

Thursday, October 12 (All times ET)

  • Buffalo at Northern Illinois, 2 p.m.
  • Miami at Western Michigan, 4 p.m.
  • Central Michigan at Ohio, 4 p.m.
  • Eastern Michigan at Toledo, 7 p.m.
  • Kent State at Bowling Green, 7 p.m.
  • Ball State at Akron, 7 p.m.

Sunday, October 15 (All times ET)

  • Northern Illinois at Kent State, 1 p.m.
  • Toledo at Miami, 1 p.m.
  • Western Michigan at Eastern Michigan, 1 p.m.
  • Akron at Central Michigan, 1 p.m.
  • Ohio at Ball State, 1 p.m.
  • Bowling Green at Buffalo, 1 p.m.