Junior Steve Bonnell wasn’t gunning for glory in the Michigan men’s soccer team’s game against Bowling Green last night. He was just doing the dirty work of a gritty forward.
By doing the “unglamorous” part of his duty, Bonnell earned man of the match honors as the Wolverines snapped their four-game losing streak, notching an emphatic 5-2 win over the Falcons (3-8-3).
When Michigan (9-4-1) scores first, it’s undefeated, but it has never come back to win when its opponent scores first.
Bonnell got the Wolverines started on the right foot fewer than three minutes into the game. Junior midfielder Nader Jarun sent the ball forward, ahead of Bonnell, who was racing up the right side. Though it was too far in front for Bonnell to settle, he continued thundering toward Bowling Green keeper Paul Shoemaker. Shoemaker couldn’t corral the ball, allowing Bonnell to tap it in just as it reached the far post.
Bonnell’s unwavering pressure paid further dividends in the 15th minute. The Falcons sent the ball back to their keeper, who prepared to kick it back into play. But the big forward was right there, blocking the kick and slipping it into the net to give his team a 2-0 lead.
“The unglamorous part of the job for forwards is the defensive tracking,” Michigan coach Steve Burns said. “That’s just great to see (Bonnell) finally be rewarded, because he’s done so many great things in that position other than get the goals.”
The whole team returned to the form that carried it to its best-ever start to a season. On a cool, perfect night for soccer, the Wolverines jumped out to an early lead. They were disciplined, not taking a single card the entire game – for the first time in what seems like ages, there were 11 men on the pitch for all 90 minutes. By the time Bowling Green managed its first goal, Michigan had already scored four times.
Coming back to Ann Arbor didn’t hurt, either.
Instead of heckling from the sidelines, the Wolverines heard only the tireless support of the soccer-crazed drummers who attend each game. Even with a relatively small Wednesday-night crowd, the team drew on the positive energy of its fans.
Jarun capped off the feel-good night with his first-career goal in just his second career start. Forward Jake Stacy ran into traffic at the goal mouth and got the ball to Jarun, who tucked it into the right side of the net.
“It’s just a great feeling,” Jarun said. “(The goal was) nothing too crazy, but hopefully there’ll be some fantastic goals in the future.”