Women's soccer team earns first MAC championship
Nov. 10, 2003
KALAMAZOO -- Western Michigan University's women's soccer team claimed its first-ever Mid-American Conference championship and berth in the NCAA Tournament with a 4-1 victory over Bowling Green Sunday afternoon (Nov. 9) in the league tournament title match at the WMU Soccer Complex.
The Broncos, 13-7-1 overall, improved their program-best winning streak to nine matches with the victory. WMU gained the conference's automatic berth in the 64-team NCAA Tournament and will play against No. 9-ranked University of Illinois, in a first-round contest Friday, Nov 14.
Playing at home in the MAC Tournament for the first time in program history, WMU defeated first-round opponent Buffalo, 3-0, on Tuesday, Nov. 4, and rallied to a 2-1 victory over Ohio in the semifinals on Friday, Nov. 7. With Sunday's 4-1 win in the conference championship match, the Broncos remained perfect at home, 10-0-0, in 2003.
"I can't say enough about how far this team has come," head coach Mike Haines said. "Everyone has worked extremely hard to accomplish the goals we set on the table before the season began."
In the championship match, Western Michigan found itself with a 1-0 deficit for the second contest in a row. At the 14:14 mark, Kristy Coppes scored to give Bowling Green the early lead. WMU responded, however, with four unanswered goals. Senior forward Jessica Pattison scored just two minutes after the Falcons' goal, and freshman Nicole Primmer added the game winner at the 32:44 mark. Freshman Chantal Robinson took care of the rest of the scoring, converting on a corner kick and a free kick for the final 4-1 Bronco advantage. WMU had a 15-7 advantage in shots and an 11-1 margin in corner kicks.
WMU seniors Pattison and Megan Urbats and sophomores Katie Ruzinsky and Chelsea McNally were named to the all-tournament team.
Mike Haines is in his sixth season as head coach of the women's soccer team, which became a varsity sport at WMU in 1996.
Updated Nov. 17: In the 2003 NCAA Women's Soccer Tournament, WMU eliminated the University of Illinois, 2-0, on Nov. 14, and lost in the second round, 3-2, to Purdue University on Nov. 16. Both games were played at Illinois' soccer stadium in Champaign. The Broncos finished the season with an overall record of 14-8-1.
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