Western Michigan suffered a potential season-ending defeat in the Mid-American Conference semifinals to the hands of West Virginia. After trailing 2-0 to start the second half, the Broncos failed to complete their comeback and fell 3-2.
"Our mentality at the start of the game was wrong and we lacked toughness and awareness of what the match called for," head coach Chad Wiseman said via press release. "They scored twice before we were able to make some personnel changes. We had two dangerous chances towards the end of the half from Sam Biekand Anthony Bowie, but we didn't have the quality in those moments to pull a goal back."
The Mountaineers scored their first goal in the 24th minute after Rodr Robles Gradjera sent in a cross from the right wing that found Josh DiMatteo in the center of the box whose header slipped inside the left goalpost.
Things would get worse for the Broncos in the 27th minute as West Virginia doubled its lead. Luke McCormick whipped in a corner kick toward a mass of players inside the goal box. After the ball bounced in front of the net, DiMatteo was able to poke the ball pass Isaac Walker to score his second of the game.
Although the Broncos held an 8-7 shot advantage, none of those shots were put on frame in the first half. However, Western cut the deficit to one in the 58th minute after Paul Liagre scored his first goal of the season.
Jaylen Shannon sent in a cross from the left wing toward the back post that found a diving Liagre whose header zipped into the back of the net.
"In the second half we were spot on," Wiseman said. "Paul scored a great first goal on a diving header to get us back into the game."
West Virginia added the game-winning goal in the 67th minute after the Broncos were called for a foul inside the penalty box. Albert Andres-Llop stepped up for the Mountaineers and scored from the penalty spot to make the lead 3-1.
"It was a poor defensive mistake on the penalty and it was an easy call for the official to make," Wiseman said.
The Broncos were not done just yet, scoring a goal in the final five minutes of the match. Bowie found Daniel Nimick at the top of the goal box and he ripped a shot into the lower right corner. However, the comeback fell short and WMU found themselves on the wrong end of a 3-2 scoreline.
"We showed fight at the end when we pulled back within a goal," Wiseman said. "Daniel took his chance at the top of the box well and congratulations to him on scoring his first collegiate goal. We made it very interesting in the last five minutes, but just could not find the equalizer.”
The fate of the Broncos season is now in the hands of the NCAA as they remain on the bubble for an at-large bid for the NCAA tournament. The selection show is on Monday, Nov. 18 at 1 p.m. and can be seen live on NCAA.com
"We have a strong resume with quality wins against some ranked opponents," Wiseman said. "We played a difficult schedule and went 7-3 on the road. I believe that we deserve to be in the 48 team field."