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2023 MACtion on the Pitch: Week 10

Five teams clinched their spot in the upcoming MAC tournament this past week!

Bowling Green’s Katie Cox (#8) and Christie Fransen (#14) try to chase down Ball State’s Lexi Fraley (#11) in a 2-1 victory for the Falcons
Bobby Ellis/Ball State 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.

This past week was the last full week of conference games ahead of the MAC postseason tournament. Let’s take a look at what happened:

Ball State at Northern Illinois (Final: 1-0 NIU)

NIU held the shot advantage in the first half 5-1, but neither team would be able to find the back of the net by the halftime break. Much of the second half was the same way. NIU held the shot advantage 22-6 through 89 minutes. On the 23rd shot, NIU’s Tyra King would finally net a ball through, scoring the game winner with 45 seconds to go. Abby Zipse would provide the assist. Ball State got one more shot off, but it was NIU who would pull off a stunning win. NIU picked up their fifth MAC win, while Ball State dropped their first MAC loss.

NIU celebrates Tyra King’s (#5) game winning goal against Ball State
NIU Athletics

Akron at Eastern Michigan (Final: 2-1 Akron)

Eastern Michigan needed a win to stay alive, while Akron looked to play spoiler, having previously been eliminated from a spot in the MAC tournament. Akron held the shot advantage 11-6 in the first half, but both teams would be tied 0-0 at the halftime break. In the second half, Akron only needed 4:23 to get on the board. Sarah Nguyen would score the opener to put the Zips up 1-0. Desperate to keep their season alive, Eastern’s Olivia Sipsock would score the equalizer, with an assist from Kate Robinson. With 4:24 left, Akron would steal the late winner with a goal from Morgan Pentz. Ella Hadley and Kylie Schiemann would notch assists on the final goal. Akron would earn a stunning win, and Eastern Michigan’s chances for a MAC tournament spot fell to zero.

Eastern Michigan’s Olivia Sipsock scored the Eagles only goal in a 2-1 loss to Akron
Steve Kling/KlingStudios

Toledo at Buffalo (Final: 3-0 Buffalo)

Despite a 10-0 shot advantage from Buffalo, Toledo’s defense held strong to maintain the 0-0 score at halftime. In the 70th minute, Buffalo finally broke the ice, as Leah Wengender would score the opener off an assist from Marissa Foster. Arianna Zumpano put the UB attack on her shoulders from there, scoring two goals in the final eight minutes to put the score at its 3-0 tally. Maya Galko and Katie Krohn earned assists on each respective goal. Buffalo held the shot advantage 18-5, and earned their fourth MAC win. Toledo would drop their fourth MAC loss.

The Bulls celebrate one of Arianna Zumpano’s (#7) two goals in a 3-0 victory over Toledo
Paul Hokanson/

Ohio at Miami (Final: 1-0 Miami)

Ohio would travel to Miami for the Battle of the Bricks. Despite a 7-5 shot advantage for Miami, neither team would score in the first half. Miami’s Haley Anspach broke through an hour into the contest, scoring the game’s lone goal off an assist from Julia Hoffmann. Ohio failed to find the equalizer, and Miami walked away with their third MAC win. Ohio dropped their fourth MAC loss.

Miami’s Haley Anspach celebrates her game winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Ohio in the Battle of the Bricks
Lexie Cunningham/Miami Athletics

Central Michigan at Bowling Green (Final: 5-1 BGSU)

There were a lot of goals in this one, so buckle up.

The Falcons got the contest started with some fireworks, as Maya Dean scored the opener off an assist from Emilie Gardner just 13 seconds after the opening whistle. In the 14th minute, Dean and Garner combined once again to double the lead, giving BG the 2-0 advantage, a lead which they took into the halftime break. BG repeated their first half effort in the second half, as Lacee Bethea would score off assists from Ellie Pool and Brynn Gardner in the 62nd minute before tallying another goal just over three minutes later, with Lizzie Bultynck on the assist. At this point, it was 4-0 Falcons. Audrey Oliver would join the scoring party in the 78th minute, with Lexi White notcing an assist. Central would find consolation from a Jaelyn Dobrowolski goal off an assist from Brooke Carroll near the game’s end, but BG would win 5-1, earning a spot in the MAC tournament while Central dropped their fifth MAC loss. BG has now won seven straight against the Chippewas, after losing 11 in a row from 2006-2016.

Western Michigan at Kent State (Final: 2-0 WMU)

Before this game kicked off, the Ball State loss from early Thursday meant Western Michigan had a chance at sole possession of first place. WMU would take advantage of the fact early. Heidi Thomasma would get the Broncos on the board first with an assist from Jenna Blackburn in the 26th minute and Blackburn would turn around to score the Broncos’ second goal of the day just two minutes later to put this game to bed fairly early. The win granted Western the top spot in the tournament, while Kent maintained a spot in the top six despite their fourth league loss.

Kent State’s Ava Todd (#27) plays a ball forward in a 2-0 loss to Western Michigan
David Dermer/Kent State Athletics

Northern Illinois at Central Michigan (Final: 1-0 NIU)

After a scoreless first half which saw 22 combined shots, NIU struck first in the second half. Kierah Meier would score in the 67th minute to give the Huskies a 1-0 lead. That would be the final tally, giving NIU would notch their sixth MAC win. Central would drop their sixth MAC loss.

Central Michigan’s Claudia Muessig attempts a shot in a 1-0 loss to Northern Illinois
Jack Reeber/CMU Athletics

Buffalo at Western Michigan (Final: 4-1 WMU)

This game was Senior Day for the Broncos. We send our congratulations to Bria Telemaque, Kayla Whelchel, Rose Dumford, Stephanie Currie, Reagan Wisser, Madison Cotta, and Lexi Nickole!

Buffalo did their best to try and spoil the party early on a Arianna Zumpano goal in the 12th minute off an assist from Katie Krohn. WMU maintained discipline and eventually, Emily Pagett scored the equalizer, with assists from Jenna Blackburn and Jen Blitchok to put the score at 1-1 at halftime. A tense 25 minutes to start the second half was broken up by Blitchok’s first goal of the game off an assist from Pagett. That broke open the floodgates, as Blitchok secured a brace with an assist from Stephanie Currie just over six minutes later and Blackburn would add the fourth Bronco goal with an assist from Madison Cotta with seven minutes remaining. That would do it, and the MAC leaders retain their top spot with a 4-1 victory over Buffalo. Buffalo would drop their third MAC loss, while Western picked up their seventh MAC win. Western also extended their unbeaten streak to 10 games.

The Broncos celebrated their seven seniors prior to their dominant 4-1 victory over Buffalo.
Ashley Huss/Western Michigan Athletics

Kent State at Toledo (Final: 4-1 Kent State)

Kent State was in control from the start of this contest, with Siena Stambolich opening the scoring account early off an assist from Mary Kate Lape to give KSU the 1-0 halftime advantage. The Flashes only needed 3:01 of the second half to score again, as Alisa Arthur would score on another Lape assist. 10:54 later, Alanna Raimondo would make it 3-0 Flashes off Lape’s third assist of the day. Toledo would pull one back in the 60th minute, with a goal from Olivia Dault. Kent State finished the scoring in the 71st minute with a goal from Kelsey Salopek, assisted by Tori Copfer. Kent State would pick up their sixth MAC win, and Toledo would drop their fifth MAC loss.

Toledo’s Alli Macbeth (#7) plays a ball in a 4-1 loss to Kent State
Evan Procaccini/Toledo Athletics

Eastern Michigan at Ohio (Final: 1-0 Ohio)

After a scoreless first half, Ohio’s Aubrey Rea broke throgh in the 53rd minute to give the ‘Cats the 1-0 lead. That would be the final score as Ohio picked up their third MAC win, and Eastern dropped their seventh MAC loss.

Ohio’s Aubrey Rea (#5) celebrates her game winning goal in a 1-0 victory over Eastern Michigan
Ohio Athletics

Miami at Akron (Final: 2-0 Miami)

This game served as the Zips’ Senior Day. We want to extend our congratulations to Katharina Bilz, Clara Knoepke, Sarah Nguyen, Morgan Pentz, Katie Stafford, and Bailee Bowers!

Miami and Akron wouldn’t find the net in the first half, but it was the RedHawks who struck first in the 48th minute, as Julia Hoffmann scored off an assist from Camber Hayes. Miami extended their lead over the hosts in the 73rd minute, as Kylee Beinecke combined with Makenna Morrison to put Miami up 2-0. Akron had no counter, allowing Miami to pick up their fourth MAC win, while dooming Akron to their eighth MAC loss.

Despite a 2-0 loss to Miami, Akron celebrated their five seniors
Akron Athletics

Bowling Green at Ball State (Final: 2-1 Ball State)

In the 18th minute, Brynn Gardner opened the scoring for the Falcons off an assist from Ellie Pool. Ball State would answer in the 30th minute with a goal from Emily Roper, assisted by Delaney Caldwell, putting the score at 1-1 at the half. After a back-and-forth second half, the Falcons would steal the game with 28 seconds to go, as the sister duo of Brynn and Emilie Gardner worked together to put BGSU up at the ending gun. Brynn would score her game-winning brace, while Emilie combined with Ellie Pool to offer assists. The Falcons would win 2-1, earning their seventh MAC win. Ball State would drop their second MAC contest in a row.

MAC Players of the Week

Offensive Player of the Week

Jenna Blackburn, senior forward/midfielder, Western Michigan

The Grand Blanc, Michigan native racked up two goals and two assists on the week, helping propel her Broncos up to sole possession of first place and clinching a bye for the MAC tournament.

Defensive Player of the Week

Dominique Popa, freshman goalkeeper, Miami

The Odenton, Maryland native put up 180 minutes of shutout soccer in goal for the Redhawks. With her performances this week, she reduced her goals against average to 1.23 on the season.

Goal of the Week

Our goal of the week goes to Bowling Green’s Maya Dean. She is now the record holder for the fastest goal scored in BGSU program history at 13 seconds. (Clip Credit: WBGU-TV/YouTube)

Moment of the Week

Our moment of the week goes to Bowling Green. We extend our congratulations to junior defender Emilie Gardner as she was named to the College Soccer News Team of the Week! She is the second Falcon to be chosen for team of the week, joining Isabelle Gilmore.

Not only did she make CSN’s Team of the Week, Gardner was also named to Top Drawer Soccer Team of the Week! (Credit: BGSU Women’s Soccer/X)


(* - Earned MAC Tournament Berth)

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

Upcoming Schedule

Decision Day is upon us. Five teams have claimed spots in the tournament. The sixth team and seeding are left to be decided. Embrace the chaos! Here is last of the regular season schedule:

Thursday, October 26 (All games at 3:00 p.m. ET)

  • Northern Illinois at Bowling Green
  • Kent State at Buffalo
  • Central Michigan at Ball State
  • Miami at Eastern Michigan
  • Akron at Ohio
  • Toledo at Western Michigan