For two minutes and 30 seconds yesterday afternoon at the U-M Soccer Field, everything appeared to be going right for the Michigan women’s soccer team.

At the 73:46 mark, sophomore Melissa Dobbyn threaded a pass to senior Therese Heaton, standing at the top of the 18-yard box on the right side. Heaton sent a bouncing shot across the field and into the lower left corner of the net to tie the Wisconsin Badgers at one. The Wolverines (2-3-0 Big Ten, 6-5-2 overall) had all the momentum and energy in the world.

But less than three minutes later, the Badgers (1-4-1, 6-6-2) struck back when junior Allison Preiss headed in a cross from senior Amy Vermeulen for what would turn out to be the game-winning goal. The Wolverines had a final opportunity with 1:30 left in the game, but junior Judy Coffman’s corner kick was headed out of the box by a Wisconsin defender to close out the match and go home with a 2-1 victory over Michigan.

“You are really vulnerable five minutes after you score a goal,” coach Debbie Rademacher said. “Unfortunately, we just didn’t tighten up enough defensively.”

The loss was Michigan’s first at home this year, and it gave the Badgers their first Big Ten win of the year. The Wolverines expected physical play and a competitive match from a team winless in the conference.

Junior defender Brenna Mulholland was one of the few players able to match the intensity of the Badgers from start to finish. She repeatedly knocked balls out of Badger possession with well-timed slide tackles and physical play. But not all the Wolverines were up to the challenge at the start of the game.

“We went out there in the first half, and we were getting shoved off the ball,” Mulholland said. “That is such a good indication of who’s going to win the game – who’s winning the physical battles – and for some reason, which I don’t know, we weren’t able to go in there and have that confidence and that attitude.”

The problem with physical play might be a recurring one for the Wolverines.

“The one thing that we emphasized this week in practice was that every single consistent scout on us is that we can’t handle physical play,” Mulholland said. “People think that we get beat physically, and in the first part of the first half, we did.”

Wisconsin scored its first goal at the 20:30 mark, when senior Katy Lindenmuth received a cross from freshman Sandy Jorgensen and put her shot in the upper right corner of the net. But after the goal, the Wolverines began to wake up.

They applied consistent pressure for the rest of the half, repeatedly taking free kicks and corner kicks, but they could not convert. Their best opportunity came with 15 minutes left in the half. Coffman sent a free kick to the far side of the net, but sophomore Jamie Artsis was just wide with her header.

In the second half, the Wolverines stayed on the attack, with multiple opportunities to score. When Heaton put in her goal, Michigan looked to be in control of the game. But three minutes later, the Badgers had the lead again.

According to Mulholland, it was the small things that made for the deciding factors in the game.

“The details are what decide the game,” Mulholland said. “Not paying attention to simple details, not marking up when they have a throw-in, and then it gets crossed in and they get a goal. Those tiny details can lose you a game, and it’s frustrating that that’s what it came down to. You forget to do one small thing, and that can totally change the game.”

The loss changed the tone of the weekend for the soccer team. On Friday night, Michigan pulled out a thrilling 3-2 win over Northwestern when Judy Coffman juked a Wildcat defender and blasted a shot into the lower left corner of the net from the 18-yard mark with only three and a half minutes left in the game.

But the Wolverines left the U-M Soccer Field on Sunday afternoon with a completely different state of mind.

“I just feel this horrible sense of frustration right now,” Mulholland said.

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