Winless streak reaches double digits
The women's soccer team was unable to net a goal over the weekend and lost both games. Karen Larkin /The Spectrum
It wasn't a good weekend for the women's soccer team.
The Bulls (1-12-1, 0-5-1 Mid-American Conference) had two chances at home over the weekend to notch their first conference win of the season against Central Michigan (8-3-1, 5-0 MAC) and Eastern Michigan (6-5-3, 3-0-2 MAC). Both attempts came up short as the Bulls failed to score a goal in either game.
On Friday night, the Bulls fell 3-0 to the Chippewas and followed that up with a 1-0 heartbreaking defeat against the Eagles.
Despite the shutout loss against Central Michigan, Bulls head coach Michael Thomas had nothing but praise for the Chippewas after the game.
"Central Michigan is a very good soccer team," Thomas said. "They were our NCAA tournament representative last year and nothing I say can take away from that."
Though freshman goalkeeper Ainsley Wheldon gave up three goals, she had a career-high 12 saves. It marked the fourth time this season that she posted double digit saves in a single game.
Thomas was not happy with the loss but had no intention of pointing fingers anywhere near his goalkeeper.
"Obviously, [Wheldon] would like to have that third goal back, but she had several great saves that really kept us in the game for a very long time," Thomas said.
The Bulls played tough for a good portion of the first half. However, at the 30-minute mark, they took a costly penalty in the box that gave the Chippewas a penalty kick. Junior defender Liesel Toth knocked it home and put the Chippewas up by one goal.
Wheldon misplayed a deflection in the second half, resulting in the third and final goal for Central Michigan.
In the second game against Eastern Michigan, Wheldon was again solid between the pipes, recording four saves.
The only shot that got past Wheldon came in the 14th minute when a rebound landed right on an Eagle's foot for an easy score.
Thomas knows better than most that bad bounces are part of the game but thought his team responded well against Eastern Michigan.
"We just got a bad bounce on the rebound and it ended up on the other team's foot," Thomas said. "Today we did everything we needed to win. Obviously, I'm not happy with the outcome, but it's hard to be upset when you're creating that many chances."
The Bulls attempted 21 shots against the Eagles, but Eastern Michigan goalkeeper Monique Budani stopped them all and recorded her fifth shutout of the season. The improvement in the Bulls' number of shots came from a change Thomas made before the game.
"We were using a third forward to run a 4-3-3 in order to generate more chances on offense, and we've been consistently playing well that way," Thomas said. "We've been great on set pieces this season [and] we just need to finish our chances, but it's hard to be mad when you're only missing by three inches."
Thomas continues to be impressed with the play of some of the younger players on his team.
"Were a very young team, but our underclassmen have been outstanding this year and have benefited from great senior leadership to provide a spark for this team." Thomas said.
The Bulls will play their third of five straight home games on Friday as they take on Ball State at 7 p.m.
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