Though the Michigan women’s soccer team went 1-1 this weekend at the Husky Nike Invitational in Seattle, the Wolverines’ continued quality of play gives them no reason to worry early in the season.
Michigan dropped the second game of its doubleheader on Sunday to Washington, but trumping Portland 5-0 earlier gave the Wolverines a split.
In its latter match, Michigan’s three-game winning streak ended in dramatic fashion when Washington scored the winning goal in the 89th minute.
“(Sunday’s) game was just what we expected,” said Michigan coach Greg Ryan. “It was two really good teams playing great soccer early in the season. It just came down to Washington scoring a great goal late.”
Entering the contest with a 4-1 record, the Wolverines had outshot their opponents, 112-27. And against Washington, Michigan didn’t cease to create opportunities or scoring chances. However, outshooting Washington 18-12 did not earn the Wolverines a win.
“We had plenty of chances throughout the match,” Ryan said. “Perhaps the better chances.”
The Wolverines’ scoring opportunities came from all over the roster rather than certain key goal scorers. Compared to some of Michigan’s opponents, this depth is an advantage and could be one of the reasons the team is seeing such early success.
“We’ve just got a lot of talented players through all of the classes,” Ryan said. “Everybody’s contributing. The kids coming off the bench are contributing, and at the end of the day, it’s early in the season, but this team is in midseason form.”
With Michigan’s depth and plethora of scoring opportunities, all the Wolverines need to do is get their shots to land in the back of the net, an ability they showed against Portland but not against Washington.
“We scored five against Portland,” Ryan said. “On that day we took our chances well, but against Washington, we had some great chances and we just didn’t take them well enough.”
Against Portland, in their first away game of the season, the Wolverines entered the pitch energized, but with a better end result. Sparked by the substitution of senior forward Lulu Haidar, Michigan began to pull away when Haidar bent the ball into the upper-right corner to make it a 1-0 game in the 26th minute.
Michigan’s pressure up top didn’t end there, as the Wolverines buried two more shots to enter halftime with a 3-0 lead.
The Wolverines poured it on in the second half. Freshman forward Reilly Martin and freshman midfielder Abby Kastroll notched the final two tallies for Michigan, resulting in a 5-0 victory.
Michigan plans on putting an emphasis on finishing in its future matches.
And with plenty scoring opportunities created so far this season, the Wolverines don’t seem worried.
“We have to start hitting the net more often — that’s going to be our main focus,” Ryan said. “Everything else is looking really good. We’ve just got to hit the net.”