In any soccer match, the outcome would be expected to fall to the team that took twice as many shots as its opponent.
On Thursday night, though, the No. 16 Michigan women’s soccer team (13-4-1) found itself on the wrong side of a 1-0 loss to No. 21 Rutgers (14-2-2) despite outshooting the Scarlet Knights, 14-7. The game’s only score came in the 43rd minute, when Rutgers forward Nneka Moneme netted a goal from the right side.
“Sometimes you can be a little unlucky and one thing changes in a snapshot,” sophomore midfielder Raliegh Loughman said.
Ultimately, the goal allowed the Scarlet Knights to head into halftime in the drivers’ seat despite the Wolverines holding a sizable advantage in nearly every statistical category. In the locker room, Michigan head coach Jennifer Klein believed that if her squad stuck to its gameplan, they would see results on the scoreboard.
“I (thought) we were generating really good opportunities,” Klein said. “(I told them at halftime) to stick to the gameplan and opportunities will continue to come. We were just a bit unfortunate and a bit unlucky as far as our chances in the final third.”
After halftime, though, the Wolverines’ offense seemed to be a bit more aggressive. While the first half saw Michigan comfortably control time of possession, the second half saw the Wolverines force more long passes down the field, trying to get the equalizer quickly.
With just under six minutes to go, Michigan earned a corner kick. As the ball careened up in the air, freshman forward Jayde Riviere attempted to head a shot from the left side of the net with the Scarlet Knight goalie playing far to the right. Her attempt barely missed the left post, sailing innocently out of bounds as Michigan’s final opportunity faded with a whimper.
“We need to be better at converting those opportunities,” Klein said.
Even though Michigan failed to win on Thursday, it was able to clinch home field advantage for the upcoming Big Ten tournament with a 4-1 win over Maryland on Sunday. It plans to use the Rutgers game as an example of what to expect in the coming weeks.
“Rutgers is a really strong opponent, and I think they’re evident of what we’re gonna find in (the) postseason,” Loughman said. “And we have to keep looking at that going forward.”