It’s impressive to lead any Big Ten team in scoring.
But it’s even more so if you’re a freshman.
Rochester Hills native Amanda Bowery leads the Michigan women’s soccer team with four goals this season. She also shares the lead in shooting percentage (.250) and boasts the highest number of shots on goal (nine).
Bowery, a nominee for the Michigan Athlete of the Year Award in high school, now plays both forward and defender for the Wolverines. Her height (5-foot-11) and natural athleticism make her a dominating presence on the field.
“She’s pretty versatile,” Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher said. “She’s really comfortable anywhere on the field, and so I knew that we would be using her somewhere – if it wasn’t up front it, might be somewhere else.”
Bowery isn’t the only freshman goal-scorer who has seriously impacted the team’s offense. Forward Stephanie Crawford has also helped jumpstart scoring opportunities. In high school at Novi, Crawford led her team to back-to-back state championships. Her first career goal on Sept. 7 was a powerful one-touch ball that she shot past Cincinnati’s keeper to secure a 3-0 the win.
“She is quick, skillful and a pure goal scorer,” Rademacher said before the season.
In the past, Rademacher’s program has consistently featured prominent freshman contributors.
“The goal every year is to raise the level of competition,” Rademacher said. “If we can bring in players that can push our returning players, and if they earn it, they will get (playing) time. I don’t believe that we should sit freshmen just because they are freshmen.”
But while the freshmen have excelled at scoring, Michigan has struggled to get the ball in the net this season. The Wolverines lead their opponents in shots on goal by 32, but have not often capitalized on scoring opportunities. Despite offensive help from its freshmen, Michigan is just 2-6-1 this season.
“We have had opportunities in every game we have played, so that is encouraging,” Rademacher said. “If we were sitting back and not generating anything, then we’d have to figure out different ways to get goals. But right now, we just need to get it going.”