The Michigan men’s soccer team wanted to make the most of its West Coast tour.
In fact, it stayed on the field as long as possible.
The Wolverines played two matches to overtime finishes this weekend, defeating San Diego State 3-2 in overtime and tying San Diego 1-1 (2OT) with a total of 24 extra minutes of play between the two games.
These games were not for the faint of heart.
Deadlocked at two after 90 minutes on Friday night, Michigan (3-0-1) and San Diego State headed into overtime. Just four minutes into the extra period, Michigan junior Mauro Fuzetti drove the ball from 10 yards out into the upper left corner of the Aztecs’ goal for the game-winner. Redshirt sophomore Adam Keller had the assist, his first career point.
“It was probably the best goal I’ve ever seen scored in my entire coaching career by a guy wearing a Michigan uniform,” Michigan coach Steve Burns said. “At the last minute, Mauro decided to try a side volley, which is similar to a bicycle kick.”
Fuzetti jumped off his right leg, threw his left leg up in the air over his head, twisted his hip and came across with his right foot to hit the shot. It’s one of the most difficult moves in soccer.
The ball hit the inside of the net and dropped down. After a moment of stunned silence, several Wolverines ran to Fuzetti to celebrate and San Diego State players collapsed on the ground.
“It was an amazing goal,” Fuzetti said. “It was just the best feeling in the world — to score in overtime and get that goal for your team. It was just a dream goal.”
Burns said it took the team a few hours to come back to reality after a goal he said was worthy of ESPN’s Top 10 plays. Eventually, Michigan refocused on its main objective: playing soccer.
Learning how to play and win close games early in the season could be invaluable for the Wolverines when they enter conference play in a few weeks.
“I think it’s really good for us, keeping us sharp,” redshirt sophomore Matt Schmitt said. “We’re going to have games when we blow people out and we’re going to have games that are close. Getting that experience early in the season is definitely going to help when we start playing tougher opponents later on.”
On Sunday, Michigan jumped out to an early lead with a rare goal from Schmitt in the 26th minute of the contest. The defender’s goal was just the fourth of his career.
San Diego tied the game eight minutes after halftime to knot the score, which held through two overtime periods. Michigan outshot the Toreros 12-5 in the game, but San Diego goalkeeper Tommy McClain made seven smooth saves to keep the game tight.
After two 10-minute periods of overtime, the game ended in a tie.
The extra time on the field wasn’t a problem for Michigan. After a new, rigorous preseason conditioning regimen, the Wolverines feel that their fitness level is much higher than in the past.
“As far as fitness goes, we’re starting to see it pay off in these close games,” Schmitt said. “It definitely prepared us for California, 85-degree weather, overtime games.”