The Michigan women’s soccer team’s record (0-3-2) entering yesterday’s game reflected a young team’s struggle to come together as a cohesive unit. And after enduring two double-overtime ties and two one-goal losses this season, the Wolverines finally found what they were looking for- a win.
“We felt because we competed well and played real hard, we’d get a win at some point, and today was our day,” said Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher.
Sunday was definitely the day for Michigan’s offensive unit, as it put up four goals – as many as the Wolverines had scored in the last five games combined.
Senior forward Therese Heaton got her first point of the season and was one of four different Wolverines to score against Iowa State (2-2-1) in the 4-2 win.
“We had a lot of people that had good games,” Rademacher said, citing the play of her mostly new back line of defenders. “The more you play, the more comfortable you get with each other. I think that’s starting to happen. We’re finding those good lineups.”
On Friday, the Wolverines played to their second double overtime tie of the season against Nebraska (2-2-1). With one minute remaining in the final period of play, the Cornhuskers were awarded a penalty kick, but freshman goalkeeper Megan Tuura made a big save to avoid the sudden-death loss for Michigan.
“Most of those are saves you have to make,” Tuura said of penalty kicks. “If it would have gone in, we would have lost, and it would have been awful.”
Still, the tie was the continuation of a frustrating season for Tuura and her teammates, even though they did manage to score before the end of the 1-1 tie.
“I think Friday’s game was really hard-fought, and it was against a real physical and big team,” Rademacher said. “But to hold them the way we did and (the fact that) we played a lot better than last weekend gave us the confidence going into today’s game.”
“It was tough because we tied twice and had some close games,” Tuura said. “(In those games) we had so many chances and just couldn’t score. We just had to get tough and get the win.”
Confidence and physicality were on Michigan’s side against Iowa State. The Wolverines recorded 18 fouls to Iowa State’s nine, indicating that they were being more aggressive than the Cyclones. On Friday, the fouls were even on both sides, signifying the two different styles of play that Michigan faced this weekend.
“(Sunday) was more of passing and position game,” Rademacher said. “We were generating offense on Friday, but because their goalkeeper played out so far, she was already breaking up the play before we could get the shot off. We had a couple of great opportunities we couldn’t finish.”
But Michigan did finish those opportunities against Iowa State, and just in time to reinvigorate its season. The 0-3-2 start before Sunday’s game was the worst the Wolverines had recorded in the past five years, when they never went more than three games into the season without recording a win. But this weekend’s win could help the team move forward.
“Definitely after our win today, I think things are starting to click,” Tuura said. “We’ve been ready for everything, and now that we’ve (gotten the win), things are going to come together.”