Shortly after her team snapped a 327-minute scoreless streak en route to a 2-0 victory, Michigan coach Jennifer Klein stood on the pitch explaining what it took for the team to finally find the back of the net.
It wasn’t that the link-up play was sloppy or that the team couldn’t march their way towards their opponent’s 18-yard box. The offense’s lack of production boiled down to the failure to adhere to one simple phrase.
“If you wanna score goals,” Klein said “you gotta shoot the ball.”
The logic behind that statement is pretty straightforward; if you don’t shoot, you don’t score. Finally, Michigan adhered to that philosophy, a change that led to an unmistakable shift in the team’s win against Bowling Green.
After taking only seven shots in a 1-0 loss against Notre Dame on Friday, the Wolverines more than doubled their shot total, pounding the net for an impressive 16 shots on Sunday. The end product took some time to show itself, but the team’s persistence paid off as they scored two goals in two minutes late in the second half.
The drought-breaking goal perfectly embodied Klein’s words as sophomore midfielder Raleigh Loughman immediately struck the ball when it bounced toward her right foot on a rebound. No hesitation. One touch, one shot, one goal.
Up until Loughman buried her shot in the 80th minute, the game had been full of frustration. Numerous shots fell right into Falcon’s freshman goalkeeper Becky Moss’s hands or careened off the post. It was clear, as Klein said, that the team had just been missing opportunities. Although the Wolverines dominated possession for the entirety of the match and had taken 13 shots before hitting home, it felt like the streak may have been doomed to continue to at least 337 minutes.
That’s why the joy was palpable when Loughman’s shot flew into the net. It emanated from the huddle of players celebrating Loughman’s third goal of the season.
“There was definitely a sense of release,” Loughman said.
Now that Michigan finally hoisted the weight off their shoulders, all eyes are looking forward. Although Sunday was the team’s Senior Night, this is still very much the beginning of the season. The Wolverines still have all of Big Ten play ahead of them and would love the 327 minutes before Loughman’s goal to become a distant memory.
“Hopefully that’s what they needed to keep moving forward in the season,” Klein said.