By Ben Seidman, Daily Sports Writer
Published August 26, 2012
Freshman Lulu Haidar buried a 30-yard goal off a set piece in the 98th minute to push the Michigan women’s soccer past Cal State Fullerton in overtime on Friday.
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Haidar’s strike was the first of her career and gave the Wolverines (3-0 overall) the 2-1 victory at the U-M Soccer Complex.
The first half was scoreless, as Michigan managed just three shots compared to Cal State Fullerton’s eight. Until halftime, the Wolverines' outlook was grim as the pace of play was dictated by the visitors.
Then, in the 53rd minute, freshman midfielder Christina Ordonez hit the turf with what appeared to be an ankle injury.
“It has not been diagnosed to me but it looks like an ankle,” said Michigan coach Greg Ryan. “I had a bad ankle in the pros myself and you are always thankful that its not knee because knees take a lot longer. Hopefully we’ll have her back before too long.”
After several minutes of injury time to help Ordonez off the field, Michigan returned to the field to take control of the game in the 66th minute. Sophomore defenseman Jen Pace scored her first career goal in the air, sending a header over the goalkeeper.
But with just three minutes left to play in regulation, Tita forward Stacy Fox headed a goal off a pass from Erica Mazeua to sneak the ball past fifth-year senior goaltender Haley Kopmeyer through the far post. It was Kopmeyer’s first goal allowed on the season.
Minutes later, with just fractions of a second remaining in regulation, Michigan sent the ball toward the mouth of the goal, where a deflection sent it to the back of the net. The officials, however, waved off the goal as it was determined that the ball crossed the goal line only after the clock had hit zero seconds remaining.
Though the call drew raucous boos from the crowd, it sent the game into overtime.
Minutes later, Michigan scored the game-winning goal by Haidar.
“The main thing was to get it on target,” Haidar said. “I had a couple of free kicks before that. My main focus was to lean over the ball and strike it to get it on target”.
And get it on target she did, putting a screamer from just outside the box on the post to bounce in.
Ryan praised his team for its fiery fervor and relentless determination throughout the long evening.
“To play with the kind of heart and passion they did and then win in overtime, it’s just a fantastic team effort,” Ryan said. “I think it’s a hungry team. It’s a team that wants to win and achieve. You can see that they are digging so deep.”
Ryan was also impressed with the leadership displayed by the captains and the maturity of the freshmen.
“It starts with their leadership,” said Ryan. “The captains are pushing the team in such a positive way that everybody buys in and I am able to just focus on my coaching.”
Kopmeyer put an emphasis on the freshmen effort, which is where both of the goals came from.
“We had a freshman class that came in and just jelled right away,” Kopmeyer said. “We came back real strong and worked really hard and it’s just been clicking. At key times people are stepping up and when it counts, we’re putting the ball in the back of the net.”
Jen Pace tallied her first career goal and admitted to being on cloud nine when it happened.
“I was in the right place at the right time and just buried it,” Pace said. “I think everyone has come out fighting, everyone’s playing for each other, it’s a great team effort. It’s a challenge for us and we like it and whatever we are faced with we try to overcome it.”