Sophomore Pat Flynn scored in the 17th minute, and he and his Bowling Green State University men's soccer teammates turned away every threat by the University of Michigan on Tuesday night (Sept. 16). The result was a 1-0 BGSU win at U-M Soccer Stadium.
With the victory, the Falcons improve to 5-1-0 on the season. The Wolverines drop to 1-3-1.
Flynn, the nation's leading scorer, notched his 10th goal of the year, and redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Nick Landsberger made five saves for his third complete-match shutout of the young season. Landsberger made five saves, and he and the BG back line hung tough as the Wolverines fired 16 shots in the second half.
The Falcons are unbeaten in the last four meetings vs. Michigan. Senior tri-captains Danny Baraldi and Jon Kumher, the two fourth-year members of the program, went 3-0-1 against the Wolverines in their collegiate careers.
Flynn's goal came at the 16:29 mark of the opening half. The play began on a throw-in by junior Ryan James, who found redshirt sophomore Max Auden. Auden played the ball to fellow Naperville, Ill., native Joe Sullivan in the penalty box. Sullivan sent the ball forward to yet another Naperville native, Flynn, who settled the ball and calmly slotted it just inside the far post for what would prove to be the only goal the Brown and Orange would need.
The goal, as mentioned, was Flynn's 10th of the season. It also marked his fourth game-winning goal this year to date.
"It was a real team effort tonight," said Flynn. "Everyone was blocking shots at the defensive end, especially the back four. (Jacob) Roth had a big play late in the game, Max (Auden), (Jake) Genrich and (Jon) Kumher all stepped up for us. Guys like Vlad (Lekarev) always give a great effort at both ends, getting back on defense and causing a lot of trouble for their outside backs at the other end.
"Tonight's win was the result of hard work from all 11 guys on the field. It was a great effort, and we need to give that type of effort every single game."
BGSU had a 7-4 advantage in first-half shot attempts, but the Wolverines had several solid chances in the opening 45 minutes. Kumher dispossessed Will Mellors-Blair in the box with eight minutes gone, breaking up a scoring threat, and Landsberger punched a Colin McAtee cross out of the danger area several minutes later. Not long after Flynn's goal at the other end of the pitch, McAtee headed a crossing ball over the bar, and Yamann Sahlool also got his head on a cross, but could not put the ball on frame.
With 25 minutes gone, Flynn headed a Jacob Roth corner kick toward the net, but U-M 'keeper Evan Louro was able to grab it. Louro, like Landsberger, made five saves on the night. Three minutes later, James received a Flynn pass and fired a nifty volley on goal, but Louro parried the shot.
Just over 31 minutes into the match, it looked like the Falcons had doubled the lead. After Roth's diagonal ball found Baraldi near the top of the box, the tri-captain executed a give-and-go play with fellow senior Vlad Lekarev. Baraldi took Lekarev's return pass and hit a gorgeous volley that curled into the upper-left-hand corner of the net. But, the assistant referee's flag was raised on the far side of the field, indicating offside against the Falcons.
Just over a minute later, Sullivan's long shot went just left of goal. Late in the half, freshman Brad Macomber's right-side cross went just past the lunging Flynn in the box. Baraldi tracked the ball down on the left side, and won a corner kick for the Falcons, the first of four corners in the final two-plus minutes of the half for the Brown and Orange.
U-M successfully dealt with two consecutive corner kicks, knocking them away from BG strikers. Roth's third corner of the sequence, however, found Flynn in the box, and the striker hit a half-volley that short-hopped the ground and headed toward the upper half of the net. It took a leaping effort by Louro to tip the ball over the crossbar.
In the second half, the Wolverines attempted to put pressure on the BG back line, showing more and more desperation as the half wore on. But, BG was equal to the task on each occasion.
Landsberger made all five of his saves in the second period, including a shot by Sahlool from the top of the box seven minutes into the period. At the other end, Lekarev blew past would-be defender Rylee Woods, and BG earned a free kick when Woods hauled the BG senior down and drew a yellow card. But, the ensuing free kick sailed through the box.
In the 63rd minute, Flynn was fouled just outside the 18-yard box on the left side. His hard free kick was on frame, but the dangerous-looking shot was blocked over the bar by the U-M 'keeper. The hosts initially dealt with Roth's corner kick, but Roth stole the ball back and fired a shot that went just high.
Midway through the period, the Wolverines had a good chance, but Ahinga Selemani's turnaround shot was blocked. Soon after, good work by Baraldi and Flynn resulted in BG moving the ball into U-M's defensive end. Flynn found Macomber on the left side, and the Michigan native cut the ball back and fired a shot toward the far post. The leaping Louro barely got his fingertips on the shot, but deflected it just enough to keep it out of the net.
As time dwindled away on the home team, the Wolverines began to pepper Landsberger and the BG defense with shot after shot. James Murphy made a nifty flick-on of a teammate's diagonal ball, but Landsberger saw the ball all the way, and made the save.
Fifteen minutes remained when a cross was blocked directly to Tyler Arnone at the 18-yard line. Arnone fired a shot, but it was blocked by a BG defender. Arnone had a game-high six shots on the night, but none of them were on goal.
The hosts generated chance after chance, but each attempt was turned away by the visitors. Selemani shot wide from distance, and an effort by Sahlool was deflected by a defender, then pushed wide of the far post by Landsberger.
Arnone shot a ball over the bar, and a point-blank shot by Sahlool was blocked by junior tri-captain Jake Genrich as the clock ticked under the 10-minute mark. BG could not get the ball out of the defensive end, however, and Arnone fired a shot that glanced off the outside of the left post.
A soft cross found Selelmani in the center of the box with just over three minutes left, but he put his shot right at Landsberger, who made the save. A minute later, a hard shot by Arnone was deflected over the end line for a corner kick. The Falcons headed that corner out of the box, but Arnone played it right back in. With several Wolverines in the area, however, none could get a shot off.
The Wolverines had another corner kick with one minute left, and then won a throw-in in the BG end, bringing Louro out of his net and all the way to the other end of the field. The long throw found the head of McAtee, but his header was grabbed by Landsberger, who then punted it out of the BG end as time ran out on the home team.
For the match, U-M had a 20-10 advantage in total shot attempts, including a 16-3 margin in the second half. BG, however, had six shots on goal to the home team's five, and the Falcons had a 9-7 advantage in corner kicks. Flynn led the Falcons with four total shots, putting a game-high three on goal.
The Falcons return home for the next two matches, beginning with a Friday night (Sept. 19) contest vs. Eastern Illinois University. First touch is at 7:00 p.m. at Cochrane Field, and admission is free.