Bowling Green State University men's soccer coach Eric Nichols has announced his team's fall schedule for 2013. The Falcons' 19-match regular-season schedule, arguably one of the toughest in school history, includes eight home games, all of which will be held under the lights at Cochrane Field.
The 2013 schedule includes a pair of home matches vs. Big Ten Conference foes, as well as five total games vs. teams that advanced to the NCAA Championships in 2012.
"We have always tried to play the best schedule possible, and this is certainly the toughest we have seen in my time here at BG," said Nichols, who enters his fifth season at the BGSU helm. "It will be a massive challenge to maintain a competitive consistency. If we lose it at any point we will be in trouble. On the flip side, there is a ton of opportunity in this schedule as well."
Both Michigan and Ohio State will come to Cochrane this fall. The U-M match begins a six-game stretch in which BG plays four opponents who finished ranked 30th or better in last season's final RPI rankings. BGSU's 2013 foes averaged nine wins last season, with six Falcon foes having lost six or fewer games during all of 2012.
The season starts with a pair of home games. After a scrimmage vs. Cincinnati (Aug. 24) and the regular-season opener against Malone (Aug. 30), the Falcons will host Michigan on Labor Day (Monday, Sept. 2). BGSU has played U-M in each of Nichols' first four years with the program, and the Falcons have recorded 2-0 victories over the Wolverines in each of the last two seasons.
Following the U-M match, BGSU embarks upon a weekend swing to Milwaukee, beginning with a match at Marquette on Sept. 6. Last fall, the Golden Eagles went 16-4-1, spent most of the season ranked in the top 10 nationally and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The Falcons also face Milwaukee (Sept. 8), in a rematch of a 2012 meeting won by BG in overtime at Cochrane.
Ohio State comes to town on Friday, Sept. 13, for the Buckeyes' first visit to BG since 2007. Then, the Falcons embark on a five-match road swing, which the first three of those matches coming against teams that averaged nearly 14 wins last season. That stretch includes games at Michigan State (Sept. 18), Akron (Sept. 21) and Marshall (Sept. 27). The Spartans and Zips advanced to the NCAA tourney a year ago, with MSU advancing to the second round and UA qualifying for the round of 16.
The UA game will mark BGSU's Mid-American Conference opener. Akron was second in the nation in goals-against average a season ago, while Marshall ranked third in that category. The Thundering Herd led all of NCAA Division-I in saves percentage and posted 10 shutouts last fall.
Two days after facing Marshall, the Falcons will take on Northern Kentucky (Sept. 29) to end the month of September. The Norse, who won the NCAA Division-II national championships in 2010, are coached by John Basalyga, the father of new BGSU women's soccer coach Lindsay Basalyga. Last season was NKU's first in Division I, as the Norse went 4-3-1 in the Atlantic Sun Conference.
The month of October begins with a trip to Buffalo (Oct. 4), before the Falcons return home for a three-game stand. BGSU will meet Detroit (Oct. 8), Northern Illinois (Oct. 12) and Cleveland State (Oct. 16) under the lights at Cochrane. Detroit recorded 10 wins last season, including a victory over the Falcons in BG. The Brown and Orange posted a 1-0 road victory over Cleveland State last season, and the Vikings went on to qualify for the NCAA Championships. BGSU and NIU battled to a scoreless, double-overtime draw in DeKalb last October. The Huskies, like the Falcons, qualified for the four-team MAC Tournament, with BG losing to Akron in the semifinals and NIU falling to the Zips in the final.
The Falcons will play at Davidson on Oct. 19. Prior to coming to BG, Nichols spent a year as an assistant coach for the Wildcats. Then, BGSU heads to Wright State for a match on Oct. 22, in the latest battle for the I-75 Cup, a trophy which goes to the winner of the annual game between the Falcons and Raiders. BGSU has captured the cup in two of the three years since the trophy was instituted.
BG ends the season with three MAC matches in the final four regular-season games. The Falcons close October with a home match vs. Hartwick (Oct. 26), and BGSU then faces Western Michigan in Kalamazoo the following Saturday (Nov. 2). After a midweek home match vs. IPFW (Nov. 5), the Brown and Orange will travel to Morgantown for a MAC matchup with West Virginia on Nov. 8.
The top-four teams in the MAC's final regular-season standings will converge on the site of the regular-season champion for the conference tournament. The MAC Tournament's semifinal round will take place on Friday, Nov. 15, with the championship match set for Sunday, Nov. 17.
The complete 2013 schedule follows. For the latest updates throughout the season, click here or click the ‘schedule' link on the men's soccer page at BGSUFalcons.com.
2013 BGSU MEN'S SOCCER SCHEDULE
Sat., 24 – CINCINNATI (Scrimmage)
Fri., 30 – MALONE
Mon., 2 – MICHIGAN
Fri., 6 – at Marquette
Sun., 8 – at Milwaukee
Fri., 13 – OHIO STATE
Wed., 18 – at Michigan State
Sat., 21 – at Akron *
Fri., 27 – at Marshall
Sun., 29 – at Northern Kentucky
Fri., 4 – at Buffalo *
Tue., 8 – DETROIT
Sat., 12 – NORTHERN ILLINOIS *
Wed., 16 – CLEVELAND STATE
Sat., 19 – at Davidson
Tue., 22 – at Wright State
Sat., 26 – HARTWICK *
Sat., 2 – at Western Michigan *
Tue., 5 – IPFW
Fri., 8 – at West Virginia *
Fri., 15 – MAC Tournament semifinals (site of regular-season champion)
Sun., 17 – MAC Tournament championship (semifinal site)
HOME matches scheduled for 7:00 p.m. at Cochrane Field
* - Mid-American Conference match
Schedule subject to change