Women's soccer blanks Butler, 3-0, at home

By Alejandro Zuniga, For the Daily
Published September 7, 2012

Freshman forward Corinne Harris scored two goals in less than a minute, and the Michigan women’s soccer team used a dominating effort to defeat Butler, 3-0, at the U-M Soccer Complex on Friday night.

Despite facing a lineup designed specifically to stifle the Wolverines’ offense, it only took until the 11th minute for Michigan to get on the scoreboard. A long through ball by junior forward Nkem Ezurike sprung junior midfielder Tori McCombs down the outer edge of the goalkeeper area. McCombs centered the ball into the middle of the box, where junior forward Meghan Toohey drove it past the sprawling Bulldog netminder Mackenzie Hopkins.

Butler’s defense tightened enough to keep Michigan from scoring again until the second half, but Harris’ two quick goals put the Wolverines in control early after the break. After Michigan lost possession, the 5-foot-3 freshman used her body to muscle a Butler defender off the ball. She then chipped the Bulldog goalkeeper from a tight angle to score Michigan’s second goal of the game.

“We’re gonna say it was a shot,” Harris said with a laugh.

Harris struck again 51 seconds later. Sophomore midfielder Christina Murillo found Harris wide open at the top of the box, and the Wolverine forward turned and buried a shot with the outside of her foot. It was the third goal of her young career, and helped Michigan improve to 5-2-0.

“It feels really good,” Harris said. “It’s going to be a good confidence boost for the rest of the season.”

Michigan coach Greg Ryan was not surprised by Harris’ breakout performance.

“Corrinne is a wonderful player,” Ryan said. “People don’t realize how fast she is.”

Despite taking eight shots in the first half and controlling the game’s tempo, Ryan said he was disappointed with the Wolverines’ effort in the first 45 minutes of play.

“Nobody looked interested in scoring,” Ryan said.

After halftime, though, the Michigan coach noticed a stronger sense of urgency in the Wolverines’ offensive effort. Thanks to Harris, the results showed on the scoreboard.

Friday’s match marked the first time this season that Michigan dressed what Coach Ryan called a "full" roster. Three starters from the 2011 squad recently returned from the Under-20 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Japan; junior defender Shelina Zadorsky, Ezurike, and Murillo all played significant minutes against Butler.

In addition to the three players returning from the World Cup, the Wolverines have finally recovered from the flu the plagued many of them during the team’s 2-1 loss at No. 11 Long Beach State last Sunday.

“We’re doing better,” Ryan said. “We have almost everyone over it.”

The 3-0 win keeps Michigan undefeated at home this season, also marking the Wolverines’ fourth shutout of the year. Michigan will seek to earn its first road victory on Sunday in a game against Oakland in Rochester, Mich.