BLOOMINGTON — The Michigan men’s soccer team isn’t used to playing under the lights. And when they shone down brightly on Armstrong Field last night, the Wolverines ended up just a little bit short.
Michigan’s tumultuous season concluded last night in a 1-0 loss to No. 2-seed Indiana in the second round of NCAA tournament play.
“We’d heard the rumors that playing under the lights in Bloomington was special,” Michigan coach Steve Burns said. “And it was everything we thought it was going to be.”
“I am extremely proud of the way this team has played all year long. Five years ago when this program started, I didn’t have this vision in my mind of playing in the NCAA second round, and to see these guys play as they did is a testament to a rising program. Michigan didn’t lose this game, we just ran out time.”
The Hoosiers’ (15-4-1) winning goal was scored by forward Kevin Robson at 86:10. Robson broke away from his defender and was able to get the ball past Michigan goalie Peter Dzubay.
“He caught me leaning a little to my right,” Dzubay said. “He shot it and it took a nice little skip and it went right underneath me. I guess this just was not my night.”
The defense played tougher than it had in previous games, and Dzubay realized this right from the beginning of the game.
“Our defense played wonderful tonight,” Dzubay said. “I thought I was going to come in here and make 10-12 saves and have a big night, but they were ready for this game. We played with heart and energy the whole year, and especially in this game.”
The Wolverines (11-8-4) opened the first half with a similar aggressiveness to that of their first-round win over Akron. They outshot the Hoosiers 3-2 and collected 11 fouls by the end of the half.
Most of the fight during the game was found in the midfield, where the players became the most aggressive. Hoosier Danny O’Rourke — one of Indiana’s two Hermaan Trophy candidates — caused the Wolverines the most difficulty.
“One of our philosophies is to control the midfield,” Burns said. “We haven’t had an answer to Danny for four years and he’s a difference maker on their team.”
One problem with trying to gain an advantage in the midfield was that the field itself was extremely slippery due to a steady misting that refused to let up throughout most of the game. The wetness of the field caused the players to fall after most quick turns and fakes. The conditions also enabled the ball to roll more quickly on the grass and hindered many of the passes and shots that the players made.
The Wolverines concluded a season packed with injuries and emotionally- charged games. And while it seemed like they had just started to hit their stride in the past two games during the NCAA tournament, like the theme of the game last night, they just ran out of time.