The Michigan women’s soccer team’s defense has gotten most of the attention this season, and it’s for good reason. But junior forward Nkem Ezurike is doing her best to make everyone remember that offense is just as important.

Ezurike was named Big Ten offensive player of the week last Monday after a weekend in which she scored three goals in two games. Not only did she account for three of Michigan’s four goals against Minnesota and Wisconsin for the week, she also scored twice in the Big Ten opener against Indiana, giving her five goals in three Big Ten games.

“It was nice to win,” Ezurike said. “It was definitely a team effort because I wouldn’t get those goals without the team.”

“Every game I just try to come out and play hard and connect with the team,” Ezurike said Friday. “I just try to get goals or assists and bring people into the game.”

Michigan coach Greg Ryan was more willing to give support to his striker for winning the award.

“Very proud of Nkem,” Ryan said. “I’m not surprised at all, she had a great weekend.”

Ezurike’s modesty aside, it’s clear that the Wolverine offense is humming because of her efforts.

Since Ezurike has accounted for almost all of the Wolverines’ seven goals this Big Ten season, Iowa, their opponent Friday night, decided to pack the back line and double- or triple-team Ezurike whenever she received the ball.

“(Iowa) is the first team we’ve faced that really just sat back with that many players,” said Ryan. “They barred the window and bolted the door.”

It’s no surprise then that the game ended in a scoreless draw.

If Ezurike continues to put together a scoring line like she has, the rest of the Big Ten may have to emulate a plan like Iowa’s in order to stop her. Ryan hopes that teams don’t entrench themselves in the backline to stop Ezurike and the offense.

“I think most teams are going to play a more open style and send more players forward,” Ryan said. “It’s going to give us more space to play.”

With a perfect combination of size, speed, and aggressiveness to go along with a refined skill set, Ezurike is showing the Big Ten that no team can sleep on the Wolverine offense. For Ezurike, her plan is simple regardless of whatever the opposing team throws at her.

“I just hope to play well and score some more goals,” Ezurike said.

If she continues her torrid pace, there will be no question that not only will more accolades be heading her way, but the Michigan defense isn’t the only show in town.

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