Women’s soccer seeks redemption against Broncos
That’s the word Meghan Caldwell used to describe last year’s loss to Western Michigan in the women’s soccer semifinal game of the Mid-American Conference Tournament.
“It was especially tough for our seniors, because they worked so hard for us,” the junior defender said.
Central Michigan’s season was ended, and its hopes of a third consecutive MAC championship were dashed by a lone goal in overtime by Bronco forward Anina Cicerone last November.
Less than a year later, the Chippewas will seek redemption today when they take on Cicerone and her Broncos for the first time since the devastating loss. The game is scheduled for 4 p.m. in Kalamazoo.
“I know we’re a better team now,” Caldwell said.
Head coach Neil Stafford said his team beat themselves in the semi-final game last season.
“We didn’t impose our will and our abilities,” he said. “What many people didn’t know was that a lot of the team was coming off the flu and (Laura) Twidle was just coming back, so it was difficult to get into a rhythm. I think we played fearful instead of trying to go out there and win.”
This time around the Chippewas are prepared, and losing is not an option, Caldwell said.
Freshman defender Emily Basten said the upperclassmen have made it clear how important the game is.
“There’s been an added intensity and excitement at practice this week,” Basten said. “I think all the freshmen want to get down there and see what that excitement of playing is like.”
Stafford said the team needs to have more offensive opportunities and better ball position than they did the last time they faced WMU.
The semifinal game was heavily played in the middle and defensive thirds of the field with little action in the offensive third, Stafford said.
“We have to have the ball in certain parts of the field or we’re screwed,” he said.
Caldwell said she’s confident in her team’s abilities.
“If the midfielders stay organized, and we keep the ball in front of us, I think we can definitely win,” she said.
Following the first of four consecutive road games today, CMU will play Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m. Sunday in Ypsilanti. Last year, the Chippewas won their last regular season game 1-0 against EMU before entering the MAC tournament as the No. 2 seed.
The Chippewas carry a 2-0 MAC record into the weekend, after beating Kent State and Ohio last weekend at home.
“It’s always good to have momentum going into some games,” Stafford said. “I don’t know if Western (Michigan) is our soccer rival because everyone wants to beat Central (Michigan). Either way, it’s going to be a fight on Friday.”
Despite having a winning record against both teams, the Chippewas are not hanging their hats on last year’s accomplishments.
“We’ve got to keep putting pressure on teams,” senior Bailey Brandon said. “We can’t carry one game plan from year–to–year. We have to finish our opportunities and keep our work rate high.”
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