On Thursday night, senior forward Lily Farkas was everywhere on the field.
Colorado set up for a corner kick and she was all the way back marking a player on the end line. As the ball was cleared out of the box, she sprinted up the pitch, laying off a cross to senior forward Dani Wolfe. Throughout the game, her motor was relentless, showing no signs of slowing down or burning out.
The kind of infectious energy Farkas provides can change the tides of the Michigan women’s soccer team’s season. Moving forward, Farkas could be the glue that propels the Wolverines young lineup to success.
During Michigan’s match against Colorado, Farkas played a selfless game — a team game.
Her play pushed the Wolverines to a draw against a higher-ranked opponent. Farkas wasn’t concerned about having the flashiest goals, passes or stats.
Instead, she was back on defense covering for corner kicks, only to flash all the way up the field the next play to assist her teammates. She was a utility player for the Wolverines filling in any holes that the youth and inexperience of their team had burred.
Time and time again, Farkas laid the ball off to give another forward or midfielder a shot at goal when she knew they had the better opportunity. She played like a leader.
Even while focused on team success, she still showed her strong foot with a goal in the 27th minute and three other shots on target during the game.
“Lily is a huge threat offensively,” Wolfe said. “She clearly scores many goals, she’s strong in tackles … she’s just the perfect attacking mid. She finishes the chances that she gets, and she picks people up along the way. She leads by not only what she says but what she does on the field.”
It is rare to see an attacking midfielder get all the way back on corner kicks and penalties to support their teammates, while still being a huge offensive threat.
Farkas hustled up and down the field until she was out of breath and then did it all over again.
“Her defensive presence out there tonight was great,” Michigan coach Jen Klein said. “Her just tracking back, that defensive work is needed when you’re playing any game but in particular, a team like this that really has some good attacking personalities.”
Farkas’ mentality was infectious. When her teammates saw her sprinting from each end of the field tirelessly, they were inspired.
“I think that type of energy, that type of style, and just response to stuff is contagious,” Klein said. “And when you see that in one of your teammates that hustles back and does that, it gives you excitement.”
Farkas played to the final whistle, fighting to find opportunities for her teammates.
“I think she’s a huge, huge player for us. She does everything in her power to leave it all out there every single game,” Wolfe said. “And she’s definitely — at least for me — a role model on the field. I think she’ll be a key player for us all season.”
In the wake of senior defender Jayde Riviere’s absence due to injury, Farkas has stepped up to become a de facto captain. A captain that is leading by example and playing her heart out.
After a less than ideal start to the season, Michigan has been slowly piecing together its strategy and lineup.
With her energetic performance against Colorado, it seems that Farkas could be the solution to the Wolverines’ woes.