After a thrilling MAC Championship win over Eastern Michigan via penalty kicks, Bowling Green women’s soccer will be heading to the NCAA Tournament to take on the Michigan Wolverines in Ann Arbor, Michigan.
The Eagles gave the Falcons their toughest test of the MAC tournament, pushing them to extra time for the second consecutive year. Junior midfielder Nikhita Jacob finessed a clinching penalty kick that earned BGSU their fourth all-time MAC Championship.
“(Head coach) Matt (Fannon) and I had talked earlier in the season how I kinda struggled in the big moments,” Jacob said after her heroic strike, “but I was just happy to put this one away.”
Fannon, since being hired in 2016, has been credited with transforming the culture of the women’s soccer program. He has accumulated 41 wins after his arrival from York, England. Fannon reached a total of 40 wins as the head coach of Wittenberg University from 2013-2016.
“The amount of time and the thought process and the work that goes into getting to this moment,” Fannon said, “It comes from the buy-in and the belief that our women have. I think they spend the time when no one else is watching and that’s how they get you.”
One example of just how prepared the squad has been, was the penalty kicks the championship match eventually led to. Last season saw the Falcons in the same spot against Ball State. They did come out on top in that match, but the team was unfazed about facing that pressure once again.
“We do a couple of different things in training to really just try and add as much pressure as possible,” Fannon said.
Fannon also had full confidence in his last line of defense, goalkeeper Kathleen Duwve. Duwve was only beaten once in the penalty kick portion, but was perfect otherwise.
“Going into the overtimes I was pretty excited. I’m kinda weird, I like PKs. I think they are fun and obviously they were definitely fun today,” Duwve said.
The Falcons have already played their first round opponent, Michigan, once this season. Back in early September it was the Wolverines that came away with a 2-0 win. That loss started a four-game winless streak, which would be capped off by the start of conference play.
Becky Moss was the starting goalie in that game. She would make six saves on 16 shots. The Falcons did not register a shot in the contest.
Bowling Green and Michigan are scheduled for kickoff on Friday at 7 p.m.