The Michigan men”s soccer team entered yesterday”s game against No. 6 Indiana looking to erase the memory of last year”s 7-0 schooling the Hoosiers handed out in Michigan”s first varsity season.
But instead of employing the same attack as last year, Indiana turned to a newcomer to burn the Wolverines (1-2 Big Ten, 7-2-1 overall) in the Big Ten rematch.
Freshman forward Mike Ambersley found the net three times for Indiana, providing all the offense in a 3-0 win for the Hoosiers at Varsity Field.
With Michigan trying to contain Indiana early on, Ambersley slipped past the defense on the left side of the field. He beat Michigan goalkeeper Joe Zawacki to a pass by Josh Reiher at the top of the goal box and scored into an open net in the 11th minute.
“Josh made a great run,” Ambersley said. “He slid the ball right through into the box and I put it in it was all his effort.”
Ambersley completed his huge day with goals in the 21st and 47th minutes to give Indiana more than enough insurance to hold off the Wolverines.
“I think the most deflating goal was the third one,” Michigan forward Robert Turpin said. “After the second goal we were still in there, but the third one really took the wind out of us.”
In spite of struggling offensively, Michigan was able to generate a few scoring chances in Indiana”s zone.
In the 16th minute, Turpin made a run down the right side of the field and sent a shot into the box that was deflected just wide of the net. Later in the first half, J.J. Kern took advantage of a restart, and floated a pass into the box that Andrew Balazer headed on net where goalkeeper Colin Rogers made a diving save.
Time and time again during the game, Indiana bunched up to eight men into their defensive box in an attempt to prevent Michigan from utilizing its offensive strength playing balls into the center for midfielder Knox Cameron. This occurred despite Michigan using three forwards in contrast to its traditional two to pressure Indiana”s defense more.
“That”s their trademark, they bring in good attacking players and instill that defensive mentality that makes it difficult to break through,” Michigan coach Steve Burns said. “Later in the game when we switched back to our normal offensive setup, we had a lot of success in that central midfield area often the team that can control that area can win the game, so that”s a nice step for us to move forward on.”
One of the few bright spots in the game for Michigan was the ability of Turpin to create when given one-on-one opportunities in the Indiana zone. Turpin, however, was frustrated like the rest of the team by Indiana”s ability to take the Wolverines out of their game.
“They were playing long balls in, and really winning every ball in the middle,” Turpin said. “It”s hard to go forward when the ball keeps going at your defense and they start to get tired back there.”
Michigan must now regroup with Bowling Green coming to Ann Arbor on Thursday but the Wolverines will attempt to do so knowing that they gave the highly-ranked Hoosiers a fairly solid test .
“The thought at halftime was “let”s make sure we don”t back down one step from this team,” ” Burns said. “So the next time we see them be it the Big Ten Tournament or next year they”ll be concerned about us as a team.”