Missed opportunities: Soccer loses first game of the season, despite doubling WMU in shots
With 30 seconds left in the game, Lauren DeBeau fired a shot from outside the box, the ball curled towards the goal sailing just over the cross bar.
By the time the ball was in play again time was running out.
Those 30 seconds were a microcosm for the Central Michigan soccer team's first loss of the season at home to Mid-American Conference rival Western Michigan.
The Chippewas (5-1-2, 2-1-0 MAC) welcomed the Broncos (4-5-1, 2-0-1 MAC) to the CMU Soccer Complex on Oct. 4 and the Broncos came away with the 1-0 victory.
In a game where CMU outshot WMU, 16-8, the Chippewas controlled the possession and therefore, the game. Supporters thought their team that had found a way to win in overtime and the final minutes of regulation many times this season already would surely do it again.
Unfortunately for those fans, that was not the case.
DeBeau, a freshman from Shelby Township, and redshirt sophomore Riley Mann each had four shots, which lead the team.
Despite an abundance of scoring opportunities and tremendous play from the defense and redshirt senior goalkeeper Zoie Reed, the Chippewas could not come away with the victory.
Lydia Bajema scored in the 73rd minute for the Broncos and the Chippewas could not find an equalizer in the final 17 minutes.
Following the loss, head coach Jeremy Groves said that the team has struggled to finish its scoring chances and that was highlighted against WMU.
“Kind of been the story of the season,” Groves said. “We created some stuff and at times we can’t finish. We knew one day it would come back to haunt us, it’s unfortunate that was today.”
Groves also complimented the forwards for Western, saying they caused plenty of problems up front and that was something they tried to address at half time.
Moving forward for the Chippewas, Groves said the team will continue to work on finishing those opportunities in practice and hopefully the results will come over time from that. He also noted that small changes could be made to get players in spots to convert chances.
Two roster notes for the Chippewas in the short term, senior Marle Bringard wore a protective face mask during warmups and the game, that could be a situation to monitor going forward.
Junior defender/midfielder Alina Miagkova was not at the game. Miagkova is with the Russian Women’s National Team taking part in UEFA Women’s Championship qualifiers. Miagkova who has two goals for the Chippewas this season will be back with the team Wednesday.
CMU returns to action Oct. 6 against Northern Illinois at the CMU Soccer Complex. The Huskies are 2-7-1 and 0-3-0 in MAC play.
This will be the first time that the two teams have faced during Groves' tenure at CMU. Groves believes NIU will bring a challenge despite their record, saying the Huskies will be playing a different formation than any of the teams they have faced so far.
One potential advantage for the Chippewas against NIU, fan attendance. Fans packed the stands against Western Michigan and Groves hopes the support will continue even with the loss and provide the team with a true home field advantage.