After conceding two goals in the final 10 minutes of the game, the Michigan women’s soccer team suffered a major loss against Rutgers on Wednesday, losing 4-1.
The Scarlet Knights had an early goal about 26 minutes into the game, and while the Wolverines matched it with their own a few minutes later, Rutgers eventually pulled away with the victory. The Scarlet Knights had an aggressive strategy, with 16 shots and eight shots on goal throughout the game. In contrast, the Wolverines only had seven shots and three shots on goal. Junior forward Hannah Blake stood out for Michigan with the team’s lone goal.
The Scarlet Knights relentless aggression also led to a fair amount of fouls, especially in the first half. Within the first 16 minutes of the game, they had already accumulated three fouls. However, the Wolverines did not take advantage of these opportunities, allowing Rutgers to score first.
They rallied afterwards, though, scoring a goal to tie the game less than 10 minutes after. It came from a foul by Scarlet Knights defender Kassidy Banks, and Blake converted on the penalty kick.
“We got a free kick within shooting range,” Michigan coach Jennifer Klein said. “And Hannah stepped up and was confident and put it on frame, and I think we took advantage of it.”
The goal was simple, but it had the right aim at the right moment. The half ended tied at one, and Michigan looked confident riding the momentum of its goal.
But that momentum lasted less than 10 minutes into the second half, as the Scarlet Knights swung the momentum with a goal by forward Riley Tiernan, assisted by midfielder Frankie Tagliaferri. Tiernan was a standout throughout the game, assisting or scoring three of Rutgers’ four goals. The Wolverines struggled to keep up offensively with the Scarlet Knights, although they kept it close until the 80th minute, when Rutgers scored its next goal.
This one came via penalty kick. Minutes later, Michigan’s defensive strategy continued to crumble, allowing for another score from Tagliaferri. The Scarlet Knights’ final goal of the game sealed the 4-1 victory.
“We didn’t value the ball in a lot of key areas that allowed them to generate some opportunities,” Klein said. “And I just think that if we had moments where we were better in possession, we would’ve made the game easier for ourselves.”
While the tough loss is a setback for the team, Michigan believes it will motivate them to improve rather than discourage them for the rest of the season.
“We’re just gonna have to decide what we want this game to do for us,” Klein said. “Is this gonna be a game that chooses to weigh us down, or will it propel us moving forward? Hopefully it’ll do the latter.”