Thursday night, the Michigan women’s soccer team beat No. 22 Northwestern in a 1-0 game that was not nearly as close as the score indicated.
The game’s lone goal came in the 34th minute, when senior midfielder Corinne Harris fired a shot from 25 yards out to provide the Wolverines with the only tally they needed.
Michigan (4-1-1 Big Ten, 9-4-1 overall) dominated play and possession with a high-powered offense that generated 18 total shots compared to seven from the Wildcats (3-2-1, 9-3-2).
“There was never any question who the better team was today,” said Michigan coach Greg Ryan. “I thought from the first whistle to the last we were aggressively attacking.”
The Wolverines got off to a quick offensive start, with junior forward Nicky Waldeck creating an early scoring opportunity a minute and a half into the game. It was one of many opportunities Michigan had on the day.
On the other side, Northwestern was unable to establish a consistent attack. Michigan’s defense stifled the Wildcats, successfully challenging balls in the midfield to prevent Northwestern from possessing it in the Wolverines’ half.
“Our defensive organization was fantastic,” Ryan said.
Leading the charge from the midfield was Harris, who was splendid on both offense and defense.
“We had two center midfielders playing against three of them,” Ryan said, “and Corinne still dominates in that situation and finds the winning goal.”
With 11 minutes left in the first half, Harris had perhaps her finest moment.
Set up by a touch pass from freshman forward Reilly Martin, Harris took two dribbles before unleashing a shot into the upper right corner of the net.
“As we get closer to the end of the season, the upperclassmen who have experience have been trying to step up more and make a difference in the games,” Harris said.
Michigan took the one-goal lead into half and would not give it up. The Wolverines continued their offensive onslaught after the break, equaling their shot output from the first half. Sophomore forward Taylor Timko and redshirt sophomore forward Ani Sarkisian both had late chances to extend Michigan’s lead, but neither was able to convert.
It was an important win for the Wolverines, who were in a four-way tie for second place in the Big Ten heading into the game.
With just five games left before the Big Ten conference tournament, Ryan feels good about where the Wolverines stand.
“I feel like this is one of the best teams I’ve ever coached at Michigan,” Ryan said. “They needed tonight’s win against a top-ranked team so they have confidence. We face several of those teams over the next few weeks, so we need to roll up our sleeves and go after them.”