Women’s soccer sets sights on tournament

The Mid-American Conference tournament is just around the corner for Eastern Michigan University’s women’s soccer team. It has one game remaining in the MAC, which will be at 3 p.m. Oct. 25 against Western Michigan University at Scicluna Field.

The Eagles have already clinched home-field advantage for the quarter final game of the MAC tournament. They are the third overall team in the MAC and share the West Division title with Central Michigan.

Freshman goalkeeper Megan McCabe started in place of Jenna O’Dell this past weekend in EMU’s two victories. Coach Scott Hall said O’Dell is questionable to start for Thursday’s game against Western Michigan but did get some practice time on Tuesday.

“Luckily for us, with our depth, we have Megan McCabe,” Hall said. “She filled in as a freshman quite well.”

McCabe recorded her first career shutout as an Eagle in last week’s 1-0 victory against Buffalo and gave up one goal in her team’s come-from-behind 2-1 victory in double overtime against Akron. In the three games McCabe has played in this season, she has 11 saves.

“The nice part is that we have four real good goalies,” Hall said. “It’s one spot where we have depth, if need be.”

Looking ahead to Thursday’s match-up against the Broncos, Hall said his team has done a good job at taking it one team at a time.

“A lot of people want to ask about playoffs, we are really just focusing on Western,” Hall said. “We want to keep our ability to play at the level of how we want to play rather than worrying about what Western is going to do.”

The Broncos and the Eagles faced the same opponents last weekend but with different results. The Broncos tied Akron 1-1 and lost to Buffalo 0-1.

“We want to make sure we are sharp and playing at the top of our abilities,” Hall said. “Our speed of
play has to be good, set pieces; everyone has to know their roles. We keep emphasizing that in training. The team reacted well. They know what they need to do.”
Hall said there is still room for growth.

“We have a lot of young players,” he said. “This weekend we played with nine – maybe 10 – freshmen and sophomores. I think we are still trying to find that consistently to play at the highest level that we can. We have to grow up some, and figure out how to manage a game better from the first minute to the 90th minute.”

Hall and his team are capable of going far in this year’s MAC tournament, as they have already defeated the top seed in the West Division, the Chippewas from Central Michigan, 2-0 on Sept. 30.

“The great thing about this league is you can beat anyone and the tough part about this league is you can lose to anyone,” Hall said. “It comes down to the fact that if they want to come out and win the game they’ll certainly do it. We have the right pieces to the puzzle; it’s now having that confidence and mentality to really do it.”

The Eagles host their first MAC tournament opponent Oct. 28 at Scicluna Field.

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