In last Sunday”s game against Notre Dame, the Michigan women”s soccer team lost 2-1 in overtime in its best outing against a ranked opponent this season.
The hard-fought loss may have broken some of the Wolverines” spirit, but this weekend will give them a chance to gain confidence with a win in their final game of the season.
Tomorrow, the Wolverines will host Western Michigan (6-6 MAC, 8-9 overall) at 1 p.m. The most dangerous threat to Michigan”s chances is Broncos” forward Kersten Conklin, who has tallied seven goals and four assists this season.
But the Wolverines should be up for the challenge. Michigan”s defense has posted nine shutouts this year, with six coming at home, and the Broncos have lost three of their last four games.
Western will also have to counter an explosive Michigan offense that continues to find the net consistently. Junior forward Abby Crumpton has scored nine goals and has three assists this season, but Crumpton does not have to carry the team herself. Every player on the field has been able to contribute offensively. Last Friday, defender Erica Kleinholz assisted on a goal for her first of the season and fellow defender Amy Sullivant has done her part as well scoring four goals and tallying six assists thus far.
Sophomore Bre Bennett played a solid game in goal against the Irish. Bennett has been splitting time with fellow goalkeeper Suzie Grech all season. Grech has played the most throughout the season, and has notched a school record eight shutouts. Coach Debbie Rademacher and assistant coach Scott Forrester declined to comment which goalie would get the start this weekend.
Tomorrow will mark the last time that seniors Laurie Peterson, Alissa Shaw, and Becky Gozlik step onto the grass at the Michigan soccer field. The loss of their presence will be felt next season.
“They were great role models for the freshmen and wonderful players to coach,” Rademacher said.
The Wolverines moved up a spot to No. 22 in the NSCAA coaches poll this week the highest they have been ranked all season. It gives Michigan hope for a possible at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. But Michigan is not looking that far ahead.
“We are worried about (the) game against Western first of all,” Rademacher said. “Then we”re looking toward the Big Ten Tournament, not only for the title, but also for the bid into the tournament.”
Who: Michigan (8-2 Big Ten, 10-6-1 overall) vs. Western Michigan (6-6 MAC, 8-9 overall).
When: 1 p.m.
Latest: This will be the last home game for seniors Laurie Peterson, Alissa Shaw and Beck Kotzlik.