Every season is a hard climb as every team and player tries to make it to the top. No one knows that better than Michigan forward Abby Crumpton. During the Wolverines” first road trip to California in late August, Crumpton went down with a strained calf muscle. Unable to play, she had to sit out for two games.
“It was hard coming back for the first game back against Detroit,” Crumpton said. “I was a little winded since I hadn”t gotten to do anything for five days.”
Yet, from that difficult first game back to this weekend”s victories over Indiana and Purdue, Crumpton has come full circle while taking charge of the young Michigan team. Her offensive presence was fully felt this weekend as she scored three goals in the win over Indiana. Her dynamic play is one of the main reasons why Michigan has a shot of qualifying for the NCAA tournament at the end of the season.
Crumpton knows how to score at every opportunity. When watching her play, it is obvious that she has a natural ability to put herself in position to score. Crumpton also has a knack for creating breakaway opportunities.
“I think a lot of my breakaways are due to speed,” Crumpton said. “In my first couple of steps I come out really fast and that gives me a little edge over players who may be faster if we had to run the whole length of the field.”
Unlike some forwards, Crumpton is able to score in many different situations. She can create separation between herself and the pack, or turn quickly and shoot while being marked by two different fullbacks.
When a player can assess the situation and change her plan of attack on a moment”s notice, the opposing squad is in for a rough night. A perfect example of this was Crumpton”s first goal of last Friday”s game against Indiana.
“Many times when I break away I tend to shoot it at the keeper, so I wanted to tap it around her because she came out pretty far,” Crumpton said. “I thought I had enough space to get around her and then tap it in the net.”
Crumpton”s assessment was correct as she tapped the ball around the goalkeeper to score her first goal. It would have been easy to simply shoot the ball at the keeper, but she kept her calm and showed why she is the most deadly weapon in the Wolverines” arsenal.
If Michigan keeps on winning games like it has lately (six out of its last seven), then it will have a good chance at winning the Big Ten Tournament and going to the NCAA Tournament later this fall.
Crumpton”s offensive attack has helped the Wolverines to this point, but one of the most crucial parts of her game has been the way she has helped the defense by putting pressure on the other team in the front. This versatility is what Michigan needs from one of its leaders to take it to the next level.
“My defense tells me that when I pressure the ball it gives them more time to setup, find their marks, and become organized,” Crumpton said. “I want to help them out because it is not just about playing offense. I want to win and I want my team to win.”