After a 3-1 win over Maryland on Sunday, the Michigan women’s soccer team is off to its best start in the Big Ten in program history. 

“It feels really good,” said senior forward Nicky Waldeck. “I’m excited about it, but we’re gonna keep the same mentality, focusing on the next game.”

Michigan (5-0-0 Big Ten, 9-1-1 overall) came into the game with six straight wins and an undefeated record at home. The Terrapins, on the other hand, have struggled considerably this season, winning only one game in September and just three overall.

Michigan quickly set the tempo for the game, dominating possession through the first 10 minutes, and giving Maryland few opportunities to score.

With 22 minutes left in the first half, the Wolverines broke the deadlock. Waldeck, who had already generated a couple of chances during the half, passed the ball to sophomore midfielder Jackie White, who scored her first goal of the season. 

With this goal Michigan also continued its streak of scoring the first goal in each of its games. 

“It felt really good,” White said. “Nicky did all the hard work … all I had to do was to tap it in.”

The Wolverines continued to dominate play throughout the half, but the Terrapins still managed to generate a dangerous scoring opportunity when forward Chelsea Jackson shot the ball just past Michigan’s goal.

Two minutes before the half ended, the Wolverines managed to extend their lead to two goals. Sophomore forward Reilly Martin drove through Maryland’s penalty box, passing the ball over to junior midfielder Emma Groffsky, who tapped the ball into the Terrapins’ net. The goal was also Groffsky’s first of the season.

Despite the 2-0 lead, Michigan coach Greg Ryan did not want to change his team’s style of play in the second half.

“We wanted to go after them in the second half,” Ryan said.

And a mere five minutes into the second half, the Wolverines would capitalize on their coach’s words. Martin, who had assisted on the second goal, managed to shoot the ball past Maryland’s goalkeeper, extending Michigan’s lead to three goals.

While it did seem that the Wolverines settled down their offensive attack to maintain their lead after that point, the team still generated a handful of chances, including a standout attempt toward the end of the half by freshman forward Brooke DeSantis.

Not until the Wolverines changed goalkeepers did the Terrapins finally dent their score line. After redshirt sophomore Sarah Jackson went off, junior Megan Hinz gave up a goal on a corner kick in the 79th minute.

Despite some last-minute opportunities for the Wolverines, neither side was able to further alter the scoreline, keeping the game at 3-1 in Michigan’s favor. 

The Wolverines have now won seven straight games this season, something that Ryan attributed to team chemistry.

“This is a team that is very positive, and they’re outlooking, has a lot of fun playing,” Ryan said. “It’s as good as it’s been since I’ve been here.”

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