Wolverines down No. 21 San Diego State

Patrick Barron/Daily
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By Alex Taylor, Daily Sports Writer
Published September 2, 2013

With the ball in their own net, and not even two minutes off the clock, a stunned No. 14 Michigan women’s soccer team huddled in the center of the field, trying to regroup after giving up lightning-quick goal

Playing host to No. 21 San Diego State, the Wolverines (4-0) answered the Aztecs’ quick goal with a score of their own just two minutes later and never looked back on their way to a 3-1 victory.

“It’s kind of tough when they go up so early in the game,” said senior forward Nkem Ezurike. “But I think we did a really good job of just getting organized and getting back to playing our game and getting a quick goal after that.”

In the fourth minute, with San Diego State (1-2-1 overall) deep in the Wolverines’ territory, senior midfielder Meghan Toohey raced back and won a one-on-one battle for the ball. After winning the tackle, Michigan’s defense controlled the ball and then sent a long pass to Ezurike, who raced past a defender and slipped the ball to streaking senior midfielder Kayla Mannino. Mannino then crossed the ball into the box, where it was tipped by Aztec goalie Melanie Vaughn. But sophomore midfielder Christina Ordonez was there to pick up the rebound and knock the ball into the back of the net, tying the game at one.

“I think it shows the confidence and character of this team,” said Michigan coach Greg Ryan. “If we go down, we’re going to get our goals.”

After the tying goal, the game featured up-and-down play with most of the action happening in the final thirds of the field. Michigan had several over-the-top balls that led to great scoring opportunities, with several shots hitting the goal posts, but the team couldn’t convert.

“(San Diego State leaves) a lot of space that you can get into,” Ryan said. “We knew we would get those chances, and they eventually came for us.”

Michigan was able to pull ahead in the 30th minute when freshman forward Madisson Lewis scored her third goal of the season. Junior midfielder Chloe Sosenko crossed a ball from the left side of the field that was deflected by Ezurike to the front of the net. Lewis beat her defender to the loose ball and slipped the ball past a charging keeper.

“To get the second one, that really turned the game,” Ryan said. “At that point, we were starting to really dominate the game, and I felt like through most of the second half we continued to carry the game to them.”

After halftime, the Wolverines began to dominate most of the play. Michigan was able to pepper Vaughn, eventually outshooting San Diego State 18-9.

“The whole team played well,” Ezurike said. “It was a total team effort. We stuck to the game plan and kind of ran them into the ground, and everything just worked for us.”

Ezurike, the center of action throughout the game, scored the Wolverines’ third and final goal of the game. In the 64th minute, the senior received a long throw-in from Toohey that bounced perfectly over a defender, setting up Ezurike for a close-range goal, her third of the season.

“It feels good,” Ezurike said of the win. “They are a very good team. They made it to the Sweet Sixteen last year and just to come out and get a win against them is good for us.”