CMU soccer faces in-state rival WMU and NIU in first MAC West games
The Central Michigan women's soccer team defeated Western Michigan 3-1 in last season's Mid-American Conference championship game.
At 4 p.m. Friday they meet again in Kalamazoo for the first time since.
"Any time you knock somebody out when a championship is on the line, its going to fuel a team," head coach Neil Stafford said. "I'm sure they will be looking for revenge."
The in-state showdown with the Broncos is one of two games this weekend. CMU plays Northern Illinois at 1 p.m. on Sunday in CMU's first two games against MAC West division opponents this season.
"You always want to do well in your own division," Stafford said.
The last four regular season meetings between the Chippewas and Broncos have all been 1-0 games, three of them being won by the Chippewas.
"Western is a good team," senior defender Liesel Toth said. "It's going to be fun and it's definitely going to be a battle."
The Broncos feature a dangerous offensive attack led by reigning MAC Offensive Player of the Year, Stephanie Skowneski. The senior has six goals and seven assists and leads the conference in points. She is joined by junior forward Anina Cicerone who is tied for second in the conference with seven goals.
"We're just going to focus on our game plan," Stafford said. "But you always have to pay special attention to players who are doing well, but at the same time if you get too focused on one person, someone else will get you."
The Chippewas play Northern Illinois in Dekalb, Ill. on Sunday. NIU is led by sophomore forward Frances Boukidis who has two goals and three assists on the year. The Huskies have struggled this season and have recorded only two wins, but CMU isn't overlooking them.
"Any team in the MAC can beat you," Stafford said. "NIU is not an easy place to play. They have a difficult surface and they're a capable team, so we will be ready for them."