The Michigan women’s soccer team (8-2-1, 3-0-1 Big Ten) tied Indiana 0-0 on Sunday behind a strong defensive performance anchored by sophomore defender Sydney Shepherd and junior defender Alia Martin.
“It was a tough game,” said Michigan coach Jennifer Klein. “They’re difficult to play against, to break down. We had 22 shots to their eight and we just have to have more production in the final third to give ourselves a better chance.”
The Wolverines got off to a somewhat slow start. The first few minutes saw some sloppy passing from Michigan that allowed Indiana to put together some attacks deep in the Wolverines’ defensive third.
Though a solid performance from Michigan’s defense saved any damage, the Wolverines struggled to find rhythm in their attacking third. While at halftime, though Michigan had outshot the Hoosiers, nine to four, the score remained tied at zero. The Wolverines just barely controlled possession at 51 percent and spending only 19 percent of their possession time in their attacking third.
Michigan’s play cleaned up significantly after halftime. The Wolverines’ passing was much smoother, and they moved the ball well, spending more time in their attacking third. They still struggled to finish, though. Michigan took ten more shots in the second half to Indiana’s three, but at the end of regulation time, the scoreboard still showed a 0-0 tie.
“We’re still doing a good job defensively,” Klein said. “Moving forward, going into next week, we need to continue to have a strong and aggressive attacking personality to give ourselves a chance to be better once we get in and around the goal.”
Both of the overtime periods were much of the same. Though Michigan put together a few runs in their attacking third, the Wolverines were still unable to find the back of the net.
It wasn’t as if they weren’t taking shots – they totaled 22 on the match, and they’ve had similar shot totals in several games this season. But as the sun set on 5779 and the Jewish New Year began anew, Michigan still could not put the ball past the goal line.
The dreary weather seemed at times to put a damper on the pace of play. Rain drizzled throughout the match resulting in more than a few slips on the field. Despite this, both teams played a fairly physical match, contesting on the 50/50 balls and staying attached to their marks.
“Anytime the ground is as slick as it is, the ball is going to slip a little bit,” Klein said. “I think from that sense, that’s really what it was as far as bounces. I thought we moved the ball really well and were good in possession. We just didn’t have enough production in the final third.”