The Michigan women’s soccer team set out to improve its dismal record with two games over the weekend, one at home against Illinois, the other on the road against Oakland. The Fighting Illini (5-3-1 Big Ten, 10-5-1 overall) beat the Wolverines in a rain-soaked game Friday 2-0 despite a sluggish start for both teams. Michigan maintained possession of the ball for most of the half and even got a shot off the post in the 21st minute by Kirstin Thomas, who took a deflection from a corner kick and drove it on goal only to see her effort thwarted by the woodwork.
The Wolverines had another opportunity in the 38th minute when a player went down in the box from an apparent tackle from behind, but no penalty was called.
Illinois came up big in the 40th minute by converting on their first shot on goal. The goal was scored by senior Ella Masar and Michigan never recovered. In the 54th minute, Masar scored her second goal of the match and the Wolverines struggled to get a quality chance for the rest of the game.
Senior Melissa Dobbyn got some shots off and junior Madison Gates made a few good saves down the stretch, but it wasn’t enough to save the Wolverines and get a positive result.
“The conditions on the field were rough for both teams,” Dobbyn said. “Illinois capitalized on their opportunities later on and we were unlucky that we couldn’t put the ball in the back of the net.”
The Wolverines also played differently in the second half as opposed to the first half. “We had a couple of chances and we should’ve had penalty called in the first half,” assistant coach Dan Dalzochio said, “but Illinois played well and went ahead 2-0, and after that, we just tried forcing it too much.”
The Wolverines fared better against Oakland by getting a 1-1 draw on the road. Fifth-year senior Emily Kalmbach got the lone goal for the Wolverines (1-5-3, 3-9-5) in the 38th minute and senior Lindsey Yackel got two saves in her first career start at goalkeeper.
The Wolverines tallied twice as many shots as the Grizzlies, but could not score a winning goal. Oakland stood its ground and scored an answering goal in the 59th minute.