WMU Soccer advances to MAC semifinals


KALAMAZOO, Mich. - The Western Michigan men's soccer team, seeded No. 3 in the 2018 Mid-American Conference Tournament, answered an early deficit with three unanswered goals all in the first half to take down No. 6 seed Northern Illinois in a MAC Quarterfinal match on Tuesday, Nov. 6 at WMU Soccer Complex.

The Broncos advance to the MAC Semifinals and are set to face No. 2 seed Bowling Green on Friday, Nov. 9 in Morgantown, W. Va., hosted by West Virginia University. The quarterfinal win marks the sixth consecutive time the Brown & Gold will appear in the MAC Semifinals.

"We played an excellent first half, all though we conceded against the run of play we had the right mentality for the opening 45 minutes," said head coach Chad Wiseman. "We scored three deserving goals."

NIU took the lead 13 minutes into the match, as Jan Maertins capitalized on a loose ball in the box and finished past WMU goalkeeper Lukas Von Lienen.

Western Michigan answered just under six minutes later. Pepe Martinez-Bertrand was fouled inside of the box to set up a WMU penalty kick. Senior co-captain Cameron Sipple stepped up and converted his third PK tally and team-leading sixth goal of the year to knot the match at 1-1.

The Broncos' aggressive attack forced the Huskies' on their heels as they were handed a yellow card at the 29th minute, setting up a WMU free kick. Sipple's free kick was placed nicely inside of the box and was headed in by Caden Jackmanfor the game-winner.

Another yellow card on NIU's Adrian Corona forced the Huskies to go down a man just 32 minutes into the match while setting up another free kick opportunity for Western Michigan. Just outside the right 18-yard box, Tommy Clark sent in a great strike past the leading Huskie goalkeeper to give the Broncos the two-goal cushion.

WMU took its 3-1 lead into the break with a 9-2 shot advantage.

Physically play ensued in the second half as the Huskies responded nicely with consistent pressure throughout. NIU created eight corner kick opportunities compared to four from the Broncos in the final 45 minutes but were unable to mount a comeback.

The Brown & Gold limited NIU to just two shots on goal. Von Lienen picked up the win in goal, improving his record to 7-2-3 on the year.

Western Michigan (10-5-3) will take on the Falcons from BGSU at 2:30 p.m. on Friday from Dick Dlesk Soccer Stadium on the campus of West Virginia. WMU and BGSU played to a 1-1 draw in double overtime during the regular season on Oct. 20 in Bowling Green, Ohio.

"Our experience was a big advantage for us," Wiseman commented. "Tommy Clark was a boss on the field today. We were playoff ready today and guys such as Sipple, Jake Rufe, and Ben Thornton made sure of that. Looking at Friday, we're pumped to have a semifinal matchup versus a good Bowling Green team. Our matches with them over the years have been thrillers. This time with the winner having a chance to play for the championship, I expect it will be one fans will want to tune in for."

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