EAST LANSING – Wedding bells rang for Michigan soccer coach
Steve Burns this weekend as he watched his team unite both
confidence and skill in the Michigan State Invitational. In the
team’s second and third games of the season, the Wolverines
dominated No. 2 Loyola-Marymount 2-0 and Xavier 1-0.

J. Brady McCollough
Junior midfielder Karl Lopata attempts a pass yesterday against Xavier. The Wolverines beat the Musketeers 1-0. (NICHOLAS AZZARO/Daily)

“Anytime you start the season, it’s kind of like planning for a
wedding: You put all these plans in place, and you’ve got
everything right,” Burns said. “Then you’re standing there at the
altar, hoping your bride shows up. You never know how it’s going to
translate in terms of that first game.”

The win against Loyola-Marymount on Saturday was just the second
win Michigan has ever had against a ranked team in its three years
holding varsity status. Even more impressive is that Michigan
nearly beat another ranked team, No. 12 Notre Dame, a week ago when
they tied 1-1, in exhibition.

The Loyola-Marymount game got off to a promising start as the
team kept the ball mostly in it’s opponent’s half of the field. But
15 minutes in, the ball came dangerously close to getting past
junior goalkeeper Peter Dzubay.

“They came out and they got a lot of easy fouls,” said Dzubay,
who achieved nine saves in the first half. “They had a real big guy
who’d send the ball out to the back post, and he’d try to send it
back in and it was working for them. He (almost) got lucky on a
couple.”

By the second half, the Wolverines had re-grouped and
re-energized, coming out with a more possession-oriented, rather
than direct style of play.

“We adjusted what we needed to at the half,” Burns said.
“Keeping the ball on the ground was key for us. We felt that we
would be able to take them apart if we could keep the ball on the
ground in the central midfield.”

The change worked for the Wolverines when juniors Mychal Turpin
and Knox Cameron scored goals within one minute of each other five
minutes into the second half. With his goal, Turpin, who also
scored the only goal in last week’s game against Notre Dame, earned
the title of Big Ten Co-Offensive Player of the Week.

Scoring two goals in a row helped break down Loyola Marymount’s
defense and allowed Michigan to take control of the game.

“After that second goal, the heads of their team all went down,”
Burns said. “They were very vulnerable for a good fifteen
minutes.”

But Loyola-Marymount came back to take possession of the ball
again, forcing the Wolverines to stay on guard for the remainder of
the game.

“Suddenly, it went back their way and then it was a dangerous
game because you think you’re in control, but if they get one of
their direct knock-down goals, then it’s a big time fight right to
the end,” Burns said yesterday.

It was obvious that the Wolverines’ win from the day before had
not gone to their heads. They immediately took possession of the
ball from Xavier and kept it throughout the game. Cameron scored
the only goal of the game in the second period to clinch the
win.

With the two victories this weekend and the tie in their
exhibition game last week, Michigan has already shown its
improvement from last year, when at this point the team had only
won one of its first three games.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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