By Brad Whipple, Daily Sports Writer
Published July 3, 2014
The biggest challenge of the upcoming Michigan women’s soccer season will be continuing the success of the team’s best two-year stretch ever despite filling seven spots in the starting lineup.
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With plenty of time until the Aug. 22 season opener, coach Greg Ryan’s approach appears to be that strength comes in numbers, especially when those numbers each bring a unique quality.
Thursday afternoon, Ryan announced the signing of incoming freshman midfielder Emma Groffsky and midfielder/forward Ani Sarkisian, a transfer from Florida State.
“We believed our freshman class was already strong, but with Emma and Ani coming in, it will be even stronger,” Ryan told MGoBlue.com. “As for the rest of the class, both Emma and Ani possess a great deal of skill and talent. They’re going to add great depth to our attack and will be ready to compete from the moment they step on campus.”
After starting every match in her first year at Andover High School in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan and earning an All-State Honorable Mention, Groffsky missed her sophomore year with an injury. She then turned her focus toward club teams and developmental programs — since 2010, she has played with Vardar Soccer Club, the same program as two of her new teammates.
Sarkisian is making the transition from Seminole to Wolverine after redshirting the 2013 season. She leaves one of the premier destinations for women’s college soccer in the nation after Florida State was runner-up to UCLA in the 2013 Women’s College Cup final.
Though Sarkisian hasn’t made much of a collegiate impression, the Cresskill, New Jersey native started all four years in high school and proved she has enough skill and endurance to make an impact at a higher level. She led her team to the state final freshman year with 24 goals and seven assists, set a school record with 64 points in her sophomore year and finished her four years with 109 goals.
After the signing of Groffsky and Sarkisian, the freshman class now includes 11 players among 30 total athletes and outnumbers last year’s Michigan roster, which reached the Elite Eight.
Though the Wolverines are missing seven starters that accounted for 60-percent of the goals last season, the addition of Groffsky and Sarkisian show that Ryan is still searching for opportunities to fill those gaps.