Western prepares for second of back-to-back rivalry games

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Tension is on the rise as Western prepares to face their longtime rivals, the Northwest Bearcats in the second MIAA conference game of the season.

Not only does Western play Northwest twice this season, but they play them back-to-back. The first of which was played Tuesday, Sept. 24. Western won 4-2.

Northwest constantly makes attempts at the goal, and that is something Western has to pay attention to.  They currently have 95 attempts at a goal, with most of their shots on goal coming through in the second half of the game. Defense is the key to Western claiming the victory over their rival.

Northwest currently sits at a 1-4 record on the season, and Western strives to give them their next loss.

“Just beating Northwest is motivation enough, we’re excited for the opportunity. We’ll get after them,” head coach Chad Edwards said.

Playing Northwest twice in a row would seem exhausting to most people, but players on both teams are turning it into a challenge.

“I think that playing Northwest back-to-back will create a highly competitive environment,” forward AJ Powers said. “It’s an excellent opportunity to prove that we can win big games.”

Northwest coach Tracy Hoza also seems eager to get these games underway and is excited to get onto the field.

“I think it’s good that we can play each other consecutively,” Hoza said. “We will know what to expect for the Friday game at home.”

Western fell to Lindenwood in the first MIAA conference game of the season. The team is staggering to pick up the pieces and get back on track to lift their current 2-5 record.

The increasing number of injured players seems to be having detrimental effects on the team, but everyone is managing to stay positive and the whole team seems ready to dive into the games versus Northwest headfirst.

“We have a lot of injured people right now. So we’re just trying to stay healthy. Just trying to get back into it. They’re one of our top rivals so we’ll definitely bring it in our next games,” defender Emily Hoffmann said.

When asked how injuries are affecting the gameplay, Powers had this to say.

“We have lost some key players to injuries, but part of the sport is learning how to come back from adversity. We have really come together as a team to continue to accomplish our goals. Players who had not received much playing time prior to the injuries are stepping up and fulfilling the vacated roles.”

The game is to be held in Spratt Stadium at 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 24.

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