Sunday, May 17, 2020 - 12:39pm

As others his age embarked on their final year as college students last August, Nadav Aaronson set foot on campus for the first time. The native of Ramot Hashavim, Israel was a wide-eyed freshman — at 21 years old.

Aaronson found himself surrounded by new classmates who, at three years his junior, were the same age as his younger sister, and all had mostly followed the same linear path. High school bled into college, one a stepping stone for the next.

It’s a path Aaronson wasn’t offered. Instead, the Israeli Defense Force beckons.

Monday, April 20, 2020 - 8:56pm
Junior forward Umar Farouk Osman worked his way from Tamale, Ghana to play for Michigan.

The ball was often makeshift, a few paper bags knotted together or a pile of folded clothes tightly wound by rubber bands. The children kicked it around with their bare feet, the bottoms caked with dust and sand. The street was their pitch, and the kids scurried in and out of oncoming traffic.

It wasn’t perfect. But it was soccer. For junior forwards Umar Farouk Osman and Mohammed Zakyi, this was how their careers started.

Monday, April 6, 2020 - 6:52pm
Owen and Bryan Finnerty have similar career paths.

Bryan Finnerty gazed across the table and saw himself.

It was late last October, and he was out to lunch in Ann Arbor, in town for that night’s men’s soccer game between Michigan and Wisconsin. Bryan was catching up with one of his fraternal twin sons, Owen, who doubled as the Wolverines’ backup goalkeeper.

Thursday, March 12, 2020 - 8:27pm

In the middle of Thursday’s practice, Carol Hutchins’s phone rang. 

It was Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel. 

Right away, Hutchins knew the phone call wouldn’t be an easy one. 

She was cognizant of the other mandates that had trickled in across the collegiate landscape throughout the day the PAC-12 and ACC had both cancelled all sporting events until further notice. So when Manuel called, Hutchins knew what was coming. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2020 - 7:41pm
Sophomore outfielder Lexie Blair has had to learn what it takes to handle a slump.

Todd LaNeave had a question. 

It was the 2017 FHSAA Class 9A Florida softball state championship game and LaNeave’s West Orange team was locked in a scoreless pitchers duel with Palm Harbor. With one out in the bottom of the sixth inning, West Orange’s most prolific hitter, outfielder Lexie Blair, was due up.

LaNeave trusted his pitchers to keep Palm Harbor’s offense at bay through the next few frames. All his team needed to take home the title, he believed, was a run of its own. 

Sunday, March 1, 2020 - 9:45pm
Sophomore outfielder Lexie Blair's batting average rose to .286 this weekend.

For the second weekend in a row, the story of the No. 13 Michigan softball team’s offensive performance is one marred by inconsistencies. 

The Wolverines opened play in the Judi Garman Classic by mustering a lone run across their first two games, both losses. They concluded the weekend by scoring just three times over two games, yet salvaged a split. 

Wednesday, February 26, 2020 - 7:27pm
The Michigan softball team is looking to bolster its scoring with runners in scoring position to win games

The fateful final inning against Iowa State was a microcosm of Michigan’s weekend failures at the dish. It painted an all too familiar scene of stranding baserunners on a weekend where the Wolverines hit at a lowly .214 (6-for-28) clip with runners in scoring position. In prime scoring opportunities, the bats were failing, making the lack of runs no surprise. Michigan was held to one run or less in three of its four games.

Thursday, February 20, 2020 - 7:53pm
Junior infielder Taylor Bump hit a go-ahead home run as a pinch hitter in Michigan's win on Sunday.

Pinch hitting is, to any softball player’s admission, not easy. It’s a role defined by an element of waiting, of suspenseful uneasiness, that no player welcomes. Starters have the luxury of knowing when their spot in the batting order is up and can prepare accordingly. Bench players, meanwhile, can be thrust into the fire any second. There’s a steep learning curve to such a stark role difference.
Bump — now 2-for-2 in pinch-hitting opportunities this season — seems to have found comfort in her role.

Sunday, February 16, 2020 - 6:49pm
The No. 11 Michigan softball team stayed undefeated this weekend, with wins over Louisville and No. 25 North Carolina in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Lauren Esman wasted no time. Pinch-hitting in the sixth inning with the bases loaded and the score tied, the freshman utility player belted the first pitch she saw from Louisville’s Taylor Roby over the right-center field fence for a go-ahead grand slam. Esman’s heroics sealed an 8-4 win for No. 11 Michigan softball (9-0) over Louisville (2-7), capping off a weekend sweep which also included a 6-2 win over the Cardinals and 4-3 and 4-0 wins over No. 25 North Carolina (5-5) in the Big Ten/ACC Challenge.

Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 8:12pm

The No. 11 Michigan softball team’s offensive performance over the weekend wasn’t without its blemishes. 

Yet, in the moments when the lineup needed a spark, Morgan Overaitis provided the impetus. 

The sophomore designated player slid seamlessly into the cleanup spot, registering a team-high 10 hits across the five game slate, batting .586. She posted a career-best three hits against No. 7 Florida and, in a 2-1 victory over South Florida, she drove in the eventual winning run in the eighth inning on a single to left field.