On the road Wednesday in its regular-season finale, the Michigan women’s soccer team managed to erase a one-goal deficit, snap a five-game winless streak and secure a first-round home match in the Big Ten Tournament, all with two goals in the final six minutes.
The Wolverines now host No. 5 seed Wisconsin on Sunday to open the conference tournament by virtue of a thrilling comeback victory.
In the 84th minute, senior forward Nicky Waldeck received a pass from redshirt junior midfielder Ani Sarkisian and converted a shot in the lower-right corner of the net to even the score at 2-2.
Minutes later, Sarkisian headed the ball into the middle of goal, giving the Wolverines the go-ahead score with just over two minutes left in the contest.
The game went back and forth between the teams, with each Michigan goal coming after a Hoosier score before Sarkisian’s game-winner.
“I think we just realized that we weren’t going to be able to score from outside,” Sarkisian said. “We had to drive the ball in and take people on one-v.-one, and we learned that throughout the game, and that’s really what clicked for us.”
The game started off slowly for the Wolverines — the team converted just one of nine shots during the first half.
“(We) had the clear opportunities and the clear chances (in the first half), and you could tell from the scoreboard that we had way more shots,” Sarkisian said. “We were definitely in charge of the game and the tempo but we couldn’t score.”
The victory ended a five-game winless streak, which saw three losses and two ties for the Wolverines.
“I think after going 5-0 in the Big Ten in the beginning (of conference play) kinda put a target on our back, and I know teams were coming out and playing their best against us to knock us out of first place,” Sarkisian said. “We really needed this win, and it’s just something that we were working so hard for over these last couple games that it’s nice to see our hard work finally pay off.”
With the win, Michigan secured the fourth seed in the Big Ten Tournament and will host fifth-seeded Wisconsin on Sunday in the quarterfinals.
“It’s really something good to build on,” Sarkisian said. “We’ll watch film and see what we did well, and we’ll see what we did bad and what we can fix.”