When the Michigan soccer complex opened last year, it had almost everything the men’s soccer team could ask for. But if the Wolverines continue to play as they have in the past week, they may want to consider adding an overtime indicator to the scoreboard.

In its last four games, Michigan (2-6-1 overall) has played in three overtime matches — losing two of them this weekend.

On Friday, the Wolverines fell to Notre Dame, 2-1, in the opening minute of the extra period. On Sunday, Michigan lost another 2-1 heartbreaker, this time to Marquette in the final minute of double overtime.

“It’ll be a character check and a gut check for our team,” Michigan coach Steve Burns said. “We took a shot in the gut against Notre Dame and the same held true against Marquette.”

The Wolverines jumped out to a quick lead over the Golden Eagles thanks to the foot of fifth-year senior midfielder Adam Shaw. It was the captain’s first career goal in his 63rd career match.

Michigan played stifling defense for much of the first half, and Marquette (2-4-1) struggled to find solid scoring opportunities. The Golden Eagles picked up momentum in the second half and finally broke through with the equalizer in the 73rd minute.

Redshirt freshman goalie Adam Grinwis blocked a free kick from Marquette but couldn’t hang on to the ball, which squirted right to an open James Nortey, who easily scored on the empty net. The teams traded chances in the final minutes of regulation, but neither team could capitalize, forcing extra time.

Michigan controlled much of the first overtime but couldn’t cash in any of its three shots on goal. Marquette saw a header hit the post in the period’s final minutes and the Wolverines couldn’t net a free kick from just outside the box with less than 30 seconds remaining, sending the game into double overtime.

“We create chances, we hit the post, and I have confidence that once the ball bounces our way a few times, we’ll build leads on teams and keep leads and win games,” Shaw said.

The Wolverines didn’t let up in the second overtime despite their fatigue from a grueling schedule. The team has played five games in the last 10 days, including the three overtime games.

Michigan outshot the Golden Eagles 4-1 in the final frame, including a strike from inside the box from sophomore midfielder Fabio Villa Boas Pereira, producing a game-saving diving stop from goaltender David Check.

“This was a game where, when you look at the chances we both had inside the box, dangerous chances, we certainly had a lot more and should’ve come out a lot better on the score line in this one,” Burns said.

Two minutes later, Check punted a ball that traveled nearly the length of the field. It then bounced over the heads of a few Wolverine defenders and Marquette’s Kelmand Islami beat a charging Grinwis to it, poking it in with 53 seconds left to send Michigan home empty-handed again.

“As hard as it is, I think what you have to tell them is to think about the game and think about what they could’ve done better and then shift focus to the next game,” Shaw said. “What’s done is done in this game, we just need to learn from the mistakes we made and focus on our Big Ten season.”

On Friday, junior midfielder Latif Alashe scored his first goal of the season to put the Wolverines on the board just 39 seconds into the game.

The 16th-ranked Fighting Irish (4-1-2) evened the score before halftime. Notre Dame then outshot the Wolverines, 15-7, in the second half, but Grinwis kept Michigan’s upset bid alive.

Just a minute into overtime, the Fighting Irish’s Adam Mena headed a crossing pass into the top-left corner of net for his second goal of the game and Notre Dame’s eighth win against the Wolverines in 11 chances.

After a disappointing non-conference season — which saw the once-No. 9 team in the country fail to notch a signature win — Michigan finally gets a chance to rest before Big Ten play begins next weekend.

“We knew this was going to be a tough part of the schedule,” Burns said. “We’re in a recovery stage right now. We’re really not practicing these last 10 days. Now, we finally get a full week to put some more things in place as we enter the Big Ten.”

Added Shaw: “I think our record hasn’t really reflected how we’ve been playing as a team. We play well and get unlucky here and there, make a few mistakes here and there, but our record isn’t reflective of how we’ve been playing.”

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.