With just four minutes remaining on the clock, Michigan goalkeeper Suzie Grech”s voice carried throughout the field and into the stands.
“Play tough, there”s nothing left.”
Grech couldn”t hide the desperation in her voice and the statement sounded more like a plea. Michigan had just gone down 1-0 in yesterday”s game against Dartmouth in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Without a goal to tie the game, Michigan”s season would be over.
Michigan would have a last minute shot by sophomore Erica Kleinholz, but the game remained 1-0 as the whistle blew, marking the end of the 2001 season for the Wolverines.
Dartmouth controlled the middle field with three players within one inch of 6-feet Devon Haskell, Erin Osborn and Jamie Lang. The Big Green won almost every ball in the air due to their considerable height advantage. Michigan countered that by trying to keep the ball out of the middle.
“What I really wanted to do was get out wide because we felt we would be able to beat them going outside,” junior midfielder Michelle Pesiri said. “It worked a few times in the first half when I got out wide and sent it to a forward down the line.”
Defender Amy Sullivant assisted Pesiri in the back during the first half. The dynamic duo fed off of each other with give and go passes to move the ball up the field. Pesiri remarked after the game that her teamwork with Sullivant helped her to control the midfield.
Toward the end of the game, Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher broke up the tandem of Pesiri and Sullivant to move Sullivant up to forward with junior Abby Crumpton.
“Amy had given us some goals earlier in the season so I moved her up front to make some opportunities,” Rademacher said.
The move gave Sullivant a chance to find the back of the net, but her closest look at the goal on a one-on-one opportunity with the goalie sailed wide right.
The Wolverines earned the opportunity to play in the second round by defeating Marquette Friday night 1-0 in the first round. Crumpton scored the only goal, extended her scoring streak to six games in a row before it came to an end yesterday.