For the majority of the first 83 minutes, Michigan looked poised to grab all three points from Friday’s match against Iowa at the U-M Soccer Stadium.
But with seven minutes remaining and the Wolverines (2-1-2 Big Ten, 5-2-5 overall) threatening to go up 3-1, Iowa’s Hannah Drkulec picked the ball up near the midfield line and took it down the right flank before cutting it back to the top of the 18-yard box, where it fell to the feet of striker Devin Burns.
Burns took the ball on her right foot and cut past senior midfielder Rubina Veerakone before ripping a left-footed shot across goal. Much to the dismay of the 1,170 fans in attendance, the ball soared past senior goalkeeper Sarah Jackson into the far post to knot the game at two, where it would remain deadlocked through the two overtime periods.
On the heels of an overtime win in Madison last Sunday, the Wolverines were the more dangerous team for the majority of the game, led by junior forward Reilly Martin and freshman striker Sarah Stratigakis.
Stratigakis helped get the scoring started off a short corner when she gathered the ball on the left wing and brilliantly dragged it past her defender. She then curled a dangerous left-footed cross in toward Martin, who rose above the Iowa defense to power a well-aimed header past Hawkeye goalkeeper Claire Graves.
Michigan coach Greg Ryan praised his freshman star postgame.
“She was very, very good tonight,” Ryan said. “She’s really just an exceptionally talented player.”
The second half opened with Iowa looking better in possession, as they peppered the Michigan goal with four shots in the opening five minutes, though none troubled Jackson. Michigan’s best chance came seven minutes into the half, when Martin fired a free kick from the left wing inches over the goal.
A goal there would have been critical for the Wolverines, as they conceded the equalizer minutes later on a deep cross from Hawkeye defender Leah Moss into forward Kaleigh Haus, who headed the ball over Jackson for her fifth goal of the season.
Less than three minutes later, though, Martin was back in the action, gathering an entry pass from freshman midfielder Lauren Long a few yards outside the box. She cut inside of Iowa defender Morgan Kemerling onto her right foot before unleashing a powerful shot just under the crossbar to put Michigan back on top.
“I remember getting the ball and (seeing) the keeper cheating up a little bit and just tried to get it up over her head,” Martin said.
Added Ryan: “(Reilly) led the team in attack tonight, and without her, we wouldn’t have gotten a (result).”
Michigan looked as if they might have a chance to get back on top before the end of regulation, when Stratigakis was brought down just outside the 18-yard box, though no foul was given.
The referee was at the center of controversy again in the final minute of overtime, when a throw in appeared to strike Hernandez on the arm inside the penalty box. Despite the Hawkeyes’ clamoring, no handball was given, allowing time to run out on the 2-2 draw.
“It’s a fair decision if he gives a penalty (there),” said Ryan, “I’m thrilled that he didn’t because I think for a referee it’s tough, (whether) you want to decide a game on an inadvertent handball late in the game, because she wasn’t trying to play the ball with her hand.”
Despite the late equalizer, both Ryan and his goal-scorer were happy with the result.
“I’m really happy with it, we’ve got five kids out of the starting lineup now, key players for us,” Ryan said.
Added Martin: “We had people who usually don’t get the starting role for us … step up and do well for us this game.”