The Central Michigan soccer team is expecting anything for Friday’s game against rival Western Michigan.
The Mid-American Conference foes compete against on the soccer field in Kalamazoo. The CMU/WMU rivalry has a different meaning to people who are a part of it.
“Everyone that grows up in Michigan knows the rivalry between in-state schools,” junior midfielder Bailey Brandon said. “Obviously there’s Michigan-Michigan State and then there’s Central-Western. Whenever you hear someone from either school talk about each other, there’s bad blood.”
Brandon, a Livonia native, is well aware of the significance of the rivalry, but others on the team, like freshman forward Laura Gosse, gets her first taste of the rivalry Friday.
“At the beginning of the year I was asking about specific teams in the conference,” the Ontario native said. “One of the girls on the team told me that Western has always been a tough game with dramatic endings, so I’m preparing for that.”
The last four regular season meetings have all been 1-0 games and three of them were won by the Chippewas. Friday’s game seems more significant for the home standing Broncos because of CMU’s recent success.
“This year is different because of the results of the past few years,” Western Michigan senior forward Stephanie Skowneski said. “It’s making us even more intense for this game; they’re rivals and the games have been close lately.”
The Chippewas are taking a more reserved approach, but still know the significance of the trip to Kalamazoo.
“It’s a big deal going up against Western,” senior defender Liesel Toth said. “But it’s also just another game and it’s just as important as the rest of them.”
Both teams are preparing in different ways, but one thing’s for sure: When the Chippewas and Broncos get together, regardless of the sport, it means something.
“I’m a senior so this is my last chance to play them,” Toth said. “The feelings are mutual for each other. Both teams want to win this game really bad.”