The Aug. 31 matchup between the Michigan women’s soccer team and then-No. 2 Notre Dame was momentous in more ways than one.
Not only did the unranked Wolverines hold the Fighting Irish to a scoreless tie, but the game also ushered in the Madison Gates era.
Although the junior played sparingly in her first two years, this was her debut as the starting goalkeeper for the Wolverines.
“She is motivated because she knows it’s her opportunity and also (because) she has played in some big games prior to this year,” Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher said. “I think she’s just ready stepping into these games.”
Gates played like a seasoned veteran in South Bend with a career-high 10 saves and her first collegiate shutout, an effort which earned her Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors. She became just the fourth goalie in program history to win the award. The most recent recipient of this award was Gates’s predecessor, Megan Tuura.
Tuura was named to the All Big Ten second team last year and allowed just 20 scores all season. Gates had big shoes to fill, but so far this season she already has 19 saves, two more than Turra had her first year as a starter for the Wolverines. Gates also allows on average 1.18 goals per game.
With her newfound playing time, Gates is becoming more in touch with the rest of her teammates, especially the defenders.
“It’s her job to communicate and make sure we are marked up correctly,” Rademacher said. “She’s that extra set of eyes.”
This fluidity between the keeper and her defense comes with experience and confidence, both of which Gates is acquiring as she plays more this season.
But regardless of her individual accomplishments, Gates hopes the rest of the team will continue to play hard and as a team.
“Hopefully we’ll get a Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week sometime . and more accolades as a team,” Gates said.