Apparently, the cold weather doesn’t provide enough motivation for the Michigan women’s soccer team to avoid overtime.

Morgan Morel
Junior forward Melissa Dobbyn scored an overtime goal to lead Michigan to a 2-1 victory over Ohio State. (EMMA NOLAN-ABRAHAMIAN/Daily)

But the extra session was worth it, as junior striker Melissa Dobbyn’s clutch overtime goal against Ohio State gave Michigan a 2-1 victory and four crucial road points for the weekend.

Four of the Wolverines’ previous six games have gone past regulation. Over that stretch, Michigan is 3-0-3.

“Being able to go into an overtime game and come up with a win is a monkey off our back,” Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher said.

The game-winning goal came at 95:04, when Dobbyn found space at the edge of the box and unloaded a bomb to the upper left corner of the net off a pass from sophomore midfielder Kristin Thomas. The Buckeyes (4-5-0 Big Ten, 9-7-1 overall), who dominated in the second half, were unable to respond to the backbreaking goal.

“That goal couldn’t have come at a better time,” an elated Dobbyn said. “I’m so excited that I was able to score it.”

Dobbyn has been unstoppable in the attacking third for Michigan all season, and she was rewarded with her fourth goal of the campaign. She also assisted on the other score, Thomas’s first collegiate goal.

Off an indirect free kick in the 45th minute, Dobbyn redirected the ball toward Thomas in the box, and she delivered a strike that eluded Ohio State goalkeeper Lauren Robertson. Thomas has filled in admirably in the absence of midfielders Danelle Underwood and Jamie Artsis.

“We’ve had a lot of season-ending injuries, so to have players stepping up (like Thomas) is great for the team,” Rademacher said.

Falling behind in the first half was unfamiliar territory for Michigan (4-2-3, 8-5-5). Buckeye Taylor Smith’s header goal off a corner kick in the 36th minute was just the second time all season Michigan allowed a first-half goal. Thomas’s quick response gave the visitors momentum heading into the break.

But Ohio State controlled play in the second half, and, if not for the stellar play of Michigan’s senior goalkeeper Megan Tuura (seven saves), the game probably wouldn’t have made it to extra time. The Buckeyes out-shot their rivals 12-2 in the second half and earned five corner kicks to Michigan’s none, but could not break the deadlock, setting the stage for Dobbyn’s heroics.

The weekend’s first game, a 0-0 tie against Minnesota, was reminiscent of Michigan’s early season games – shut-down defense combined with numerous scoring opportunities that never found the back of the net.

Michigan generated a season-high 10 shots on goal, but could not solve Minnesota goalkeeper Lindsey Dare.

Immediately, Michigan took the play at the struggling Golden Gophers (1-6-1, 8-7-2). Within 15 minutes, the Wolverines registered two corner kicks and three shots on goal.

Minnesota’s best chances came on corner kicks (seven total). The Golden Gophers set pieces were difficult to defend, but, as usual, Tuura was up to the challenge.

“Minnesota had some corners that were pretty dangerous, and (Tuura) held onto a bunch of balls,” Rademacher said. “She was just phenomenal on all of their corners.”

Tuura made five saves to earn her sixth shutout of the season.

One of Michigan’s best opportunities came on a late corner. Dobbyn sent a cross that junior midfielder Sarah Banco headed just wide as the second overtime wound down.

Beating Ohio State and playing Minnesota to a scoreless draw pushed Michigan into fifth place in the Big Ten standings (4-2-3, 8-5-5). More importantly, it ensured the Maize and Blue a birth in the Big Ten tournament (only the top eight teams qualify). But Michigan will focus on the regular season first.

“Our goal is to finish up the season with a win over Michigan State (on Friday),” Rademacher said. “Then we can start worrying about the Big Ten tournament.”

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