As a former Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, All-Big Ten selection and the Michigan men’s soccer team’s 2014 MVP, Colin McAtee is no stranger to the spotlight. A fifth-year senior, McAtee earned all three honors in his stellar 2014 season, due in large part to his team-high eight goals and 18 points.
At the midway point of the 2015 season, McAtee’s impact is still evident for the Wolverines (2-0-2 Big Ten, 5-2-2 overall). He was voted team captain at the end of the spring season, and multiple teammates have commented on his role as a mentor for the younger players.
Saturday, in a 3-3 draw against Wisconsin (1-1-1, 2-7-1), McAtee’s experience as a key offensive player was on full display for the home crowd at U-M Soccer Stadium. He set the tone for the rest of the first half after striking the first goal of the game.
Up until Saturday, McAtee had scored only once this season, against Northwestern on Sept. 20. He finally snapped his scoring drought just under 15 minutes into Saturday’s match, as he nailed one home off an assist from junior defender Rylee Woods for Michigan’s first goal of the game.
“Colin is the power, the player up the middle … he keeps the (opposing) center backs honest and occupies them so they can’t help the wide guys as much,” said Michigan coach Chaka Daley. “He has good, strong pace.”
Less than five minutes later, McAtee was at it again, notching the ball into the net after retrieving a rebounded shot from freshman midfielder Francis Atuahene.
With multiple teammates on scoring streaks coming into Saturday’s game, McAtee was surrounded by offensive support. Atuahene lengthened his scoring streak to four games, and senior forward William Mellors-Blair offered three of his own shots on goal.
“It always feels good to score … obviously, we are all disappointed with the tie against a team we thought we are better than, but it does feel good with Francis and (Mellors-Blair) on scoring streaks, and hopefully I start my own,” McAtee said.
Though the Wolverines led, 3-2, heading into halftime, Wisconsin responded early in the second half with a goal from forward Nick Jones. Following two overtime periods of even possession, the final score held at 3-3.
“The biggest positive is we still got a point out of it,” McAtee said. “It just makes us hungrier, because we didn’t get what we wanted. Going into Notre Dame, a top-five team on Wednesday, it’s going to be a great opportunity.”
Coach Daley echoed his leader’s predictions for Michigan’s upcoming games.
“I think at … the halfway point in the Big Ten, we put ourselves in a position to compete, down the stretch, and that’s the bright side at the end of the day,” Daley said.
As a captain, McAtee’s strong leadership appears to be reviving his offensive prowess of seasons past. If that continues, it might just be another way he’s able to contribute down the stretch.