YPSILANTI — Sophomore Amanda Bowery collided with Dayton goalie Deana Waintraub and found herself with an open net and the ball at her feet.
Bowrey shuffled towards the goal and rushed a shot that inched just right of the post — a shot that would’ve tied the game with less than ten minutes left.
Instead, Bowery and the Michigan women’s soccer team fell, 3-2, to the Flyers on Friday night.
But yesterday against Western Michigan, Bowery pushed herself into a similar position — staring down an empty net.
After beating goalie Julia Francy to the ball on a pass through the box, Bowery lofted a shot over charging defenders and into the top right corner of the goal.
“That was a much harder one today,” Michigan coach Greg Ryan said. “She had to lift it over two players into the net. Amanda is going to score goals. She is just one of those kids around the net that the ball just seems to find her foot.”
Bowery’s shot gave Michigan a 2-1 advantage with 12 minutes left in the game, which proved the difference.
The Wolverines (2-3-1) played aggressively throughout the game, but they outshot the Broncos 6-1 in the first period but didn’t connect with the back of the net.
Ryan adopted an aggressive strategy after Friday’s game, in which Michigan sat back in the first half and let Dayton control the pace.
“I just said, ‘the heck with defending. Let’s just throw some people forward,’ ” Ryan said. “We just said the same thing about today. Let’s get forward lets take chances, let’s take risks.”
The Wolverines had several quality shots on goal, but never scored off of a set play.
Freshman Kelsey Rogind scored two minutes into the second half off a free kick, and Bowery scored on a counterattack.
“We are still lacking in putting the goals away,” Ryan said. “We don’t have quite enough determination in the attacking players. If we had really gone after it, we could have won by a few points instead of stealing it late in the game.”
In addition to not capitalizing on offense, Michigan also stumbled on defense. With 18:20 left in the game, the Wolverine defense failed to collapse on Bronco forward Stephanie Skowneski, and she snuck a shot past senior goalie Madison Gates to tie the game.
But Bowery’s open netter took back the lead, and the Wolverines hung on. If the Wolverines win against Oakland on Thursday, they will match the total number of wins the earned all last season — three.
But it will still be a while before Ryan’s young team stops making some basic mistakes, he said.
“It’s only as you train over and over until it becomes a habit, and that can take a long time,” Ryan said. “It’s going to take until whenever it happens, and I don’t know when that’s going to be.”