A tip of the hat to you, Colin McAtee.

In the previous six games for the Michigan men’s soccer team, the junior forward had recorded four goals and an assist, and Oakland had no answer for him Wednesday night as he added another goal and assist to his stat sheet in the Wolverines’ 3-1 win.

In the third minute of the fixture, freshman midfielder Tyler Anderson served a corner kick into the six-yard box, and McAtee pounded a header into the back of the net. After the game, McAtee broke down the play simply and added his sense of humor.

“I just battled with the defender and shoved him off, and connected,” McAtee said. “My head actually hurt really bad after, but it felt a little better after the ball went into the back of the net.”

Later in the contest, in the 64th minute, McAtee assisted senior midfielder Marcos Ugarte. After Ugarte received a pass from McAtee and beat a defender one on one, he fired a shot into the far post netting to put the Wolverines up 2-0.

In total, McAtee has seven goals and two assists this season. McAtee attributed his consistent goal scoring of late to his self-assurance and to playing in a new tactical position as center striker.

“After that hat trick against Notre Dame (on Oct. 7), I’ve just been very confident,” McAtee said. “I’ve been starting in the center forward position when we have three forwards, and I feel really dangerous on corners, especially in the new spot I’m attacking.”

It was clear that McAtee was playing with an air of confidence against an Oakland team that had won five straight games. The junior enjoyed the freedom to get on the ball throughout the game and especially wreaked havoc on the Grizzlies’ back line when he found space to run with the ball on counter attacks. During the 60 minutes he played, McAtee tallied three shots on goal.

Michigan coach Chaka Daley was quick to praise McAtee’s performance throughout this season and expressed how reliable he has been.

“He’s been the most consistent attacking player in our group,” Daley said. “He’s been taking his chances well. If we’ve played him on the right, left or up the middle, he’s been outstanding in his consistency, and I think that’s been the fruits of his labor.”

The Wolverines will need McAtee to continue his hot streak when they travel to East Lansing on Sunday. As they match up with the 12th-ranked Spartans, it will be more than just a regular-season game. It will be a battle for Big Ten tournament positioning. It will be a battle for the Big Bear trophy — which the Spartans took from Michigan last year. As McAtee described, the Wolverines are simply hungry for another victory.

“We’re playing for the Big Bear trophy that they stole back from us last year,” McAtee said. “I know we’re going to be up for that game.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.