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Women's Soccer Crowned MAC Tournament Champions

by Carolyn Binder

Courtesy of WMU Athletics/Adam Bodnar

YPSILANTI, Mich. -- Ali Russo’s 62nd minute goal and a superb defensive performance earned the Western Michigan women’s soccer team the Mid-American Conference Tournament Championship and a trip to the NCAA Tournament after defeating Ball State, 1-0, on Sunday afternoon at Eastern Michigan’s Scicluna Field.

Aubrey Sudomier connected with Russo, a native of Kalamazoo, Mich., down the right flank and the sophomore forward fired a shot from the far corner and into the net for her third goal of the season.

The Broncos limited Ball State’s opportunities to just seven shots overall and allowed just two to reach WMU goalkeeper Michelle Watson. Watson made two saves and recorded her 27th career shutout.

“I am so proud of these players,” said head coach Nate Norman. “They have worked so hard. I give a lot of credit to Ball State as they are a very good team and it was a very difficult game. Ali scored a great goal for us today.”

The MAC Championship is the second for the program, coming 10 years from the first one in 2013. Russo, Rachel Chaney, Lindsey Lee and Kylie Nylen were named to the MAC

All-Tournament team. Russo assisted on Rachel Chaney’s game-tying goal in the quarterfinals against Kent State and also scored both of WMU’s goals in a 2-1 win over Ball State earlier in the season.

Western Michigan now waits to find out where they will head for the NCAA College Cup.