Wolverines head to California, split pair of weekend games

Anna Schulte/Daily
Redshirt junior forward Clare Stachel scored Michigan's lone goal in its California road trip. Buy this photo

By Carly Boddy, For the Daily
Published September 5, 2011

Expectations were high as the Wolverines walked onto the turf this past Sunday. Playing No. 24 Pepperdine would test what Michigan coach Greg Ryan referred to as the most attack oriented team (he's) seen since coming to Michigan.

After defeating Riverside 1-0 on Friday, the Wolverines took the field against the Waves. Despite riding a four-game winning streak, the attack-oriented Wolverines came up scoreless, falling 3-0 to Pepperdine.

Michigan recorded seven shots on goal in Sunday's match, but it wasn't enough to score on an undefeated Pepperdine squad. The Waves took the lead just 16 minutes in, sending the ball over the head of junior goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer. Despite the following three shots on goal by redshirt junior forward Clare Stachel and a shot that bounced off the crossbar from freshman forward Kate Magugian, the Wolverines were scoreless.

Nearing the end of the second half, Michigan was still only down by one. But the Waves held on to finish the game with another two goals, defeating the Wolverines 3-0.

"The loss was disappointing, but Pepperdine is the best opponent we've played so far," Ryan said. "They were organized, and their goalie and defense played well. We were unfortunate not to get a goal in the second half; we really dominated the play. Megan Tooley in particular was everywhere, she created our best chances to score off of the dribble."

On Friday, Michigan (4-2) faced Riverside for the first time in history. The teams looked relatively even in the first half, with Michigan punching nine shots on goal to match Riverside's seven.

Coming out of half time, the scoreboard still read an unnerving 0-0. With just over 20 minutes left in the game, sophomore power forward Nkem Ezurike was taken down in the box, earning a penalty kick. Stachel nailed the kick, leading the Wolverines to a narrow victory over the Highlanders. Kopmeyer recorded her second shutout of the season.

"The team did a great job of managing after that first goal," Ryan said. "We played a more conservative system, dropping a forward back and running a five-man midfield, making sure they didn't score and giving us the win."

Next weekend, the Wolverines will return home to Ann Arbor to face Western Michigan and Central Michigan.

"Western and Central are both solid in-state rivalries," Ryan said. "They're talented and well-coached. We expect two tough games next weekend, but we'll be ready."