- Erin Kirkland/Daily
By Brad Whipple, Daily Sports Writer
Published May 13, 2014
Last season, the Michigan women’s soccer team’s tough schedule helped prepare it for a trip to the Elite Eight.
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This season, it appears the Wolverines have set up a similar gauntlet.
Michigan announced Tuesday its schedule for the 2014 season, a slate that includes 11 home games and nine 2013 NCAA Tournament teams.
For the second straight year, the Wolverines will start with an exhibition match against Western Michigan on Aug. 13, this time in Kalamazoo, Mich. Michigan will then open the regular season at home Aug. 22 against Cal State Northridge.
After opening a program-best 6-0 last season, the Wolverines will open with six non-conference matchups, including one against San Diego State, a 2013 NCAA Tournament team.
The Wolverines begin Big Ten play with a Friday-Sunday homestand against Minnesota and Wisconsin on Sept. 12 and 14. They will also host Michigan State, reigning Big Ten champion Nebraska, Iowa — which upset Michigan in the first round of the 2013 Big Ten Tournament — Penn State and Ohio State for Senior Night.
In addition, the Wolverines will play Big Ten newcomers Maryland (Sep. 19) and Rutgers (Sep. 21) for the first time.
But before conference play starts, the Wolverines will need to make adjustments to a starting rotation that is losing seven seniors, including all-time leading scorer Nkem Ezurike.
As if those losses didn’t hurt Michigan enough, junior midfielder Christina Murillo is taking a year off to prepare for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup with the Mexican Women’s National Team.
In place, the Wolverines will add nine freshman to a squad that has made deep back-to-back NCAA Tournament runs.
The Wolverines’ regular season will conclude against Purdue on Nov. 1 in West Lafayette, the site of the Big Ten Tournament starting four days later.
The first round of the NCAA Tournament, which Michigan hosted last year, begins Nov. 14.
NOTE: Tuesday, the Ottawa Fury FC of the North American Soccer League announced the signing of former Michigan defender Shelina Zadorsky, marking her second year with the Canadian team after earning her first cap last January against South Korea.
“We’re very happy to have Shelina back,” said Fury manager Dom Oliveri in a statement. “She played significant minutes for us in 2013. We’re extremely happy to have her anchor our defense for another year.”
The Fury’s season starts May 24 against Quebec Dynamo.