Two days before starting their first college class, freshmen Kelsey Rogind and Clare Stachel gave Michigan women’s soccer coach Greg Ryan what had to come eventually: his first victory as the Wolverines’ head coach.
After going winless in his first three games, the former U.S. national team coach needed to find some answers. Rogind and Stachel responded and connected on the Wolverines’ lone goal in Michigan’s 1-0 win against Miami (Ohio) Sunday in Oxford, Ohio.
“It was great,” Ryan said. “We’ve had some bad breaks so far. It was nice to see things fall our way.”
After dropping Friday’s contest to Cincinnati, 2-1, the Wolverines (1-2-1) won the tight contest against the RedHawks (1-1-0) at the Miami soccer field.
The Wolverines battled through a stalemate in the first half, then Stachel and Rogind that got the action started for Michigan.
Stachel began the attack at the start of the second half when she carried the ball up the field and dribbled around several Miami players en route to the RedHawks’ goal line.
Stachel launched a cross through the goal box and found Rogind’s foot near the back post. Rogind deflected it into the back of the net for her first career goal.
“I saw Clare making the good run down the side, and I knew that she’s good getting the ball to the in-line,” Rogind said. “I knew that she’d be able to get a cross off.”
Typically a forward, Stachel played defense Sunday, and using her speed and strength to jumpstart the offense. Though the score would indicate otherwise, Michigan was a much more aggressive team in the second half. The Wolverines registered four shots on goal after just one in the opening frame.
“I thought the team took more risks to score goals today,” Ryan said. “Instead of backing off of someone, they were willing to force plays more and create more opportunities for us.”
Senior goalkeeper Madison Gates earned her fourth career shutout, making five stops. A very mobile player, she came up with some big saves. The most impressive came when she deflected a shot headed for the back post up and over the cross bar.
“She distributes the ball with her feet exceptionally well,” Ryan said of Gates. “She’s a big part of starting our offense.”
The defense took the same attacking approach and played more fluidly than it had so far this season.
Under Ryan, Michigan has installed a zone defense as opposed to the traditional man-to-man system used in past seasons. The new defense forces the team to communicate more effectively.
“The whole backside — the goalkeeper and the defenders have been working on organization and working together as a unit,” Ryan said. “They did a fantastic job of defending as a unit rather than defending as individuals.”