After her final game at the Varsity Soccer Field, senior captain Erika Kleinholz could not hold back the tears. She brushed the moisture off her face and reflected on her four years in Ann Arbor.
“It’s a shock it’s all over,” Kleinholz said. “It all goes by so quick.”
Kleinholz and the other Michigan seniors were honored before the game on senior day, and all were given a start in their emotional finale at home.
“I love it here,” Kleinholz said. “I’ve had so much fun, and I’ve made some of my best friends while playing here.”
Kleinholz knows her time as a Wolverine is almost up, but others have not come to grips with the end.
“To be completely honest, it hasn’t hit me yet,” senior goalie Suzie Grech said. “I don’t know, it’s just going to be different now.”
Grech, like Kleinholz, treasured every minute at Michigan.
“It was unbelievable, I wouldn’t take a single second of it back,” Grech said. “I’m happy with how I played and love all the people I’ve met along the way. I’m going to cherish forever the time I had with these girls.”
Even though Grech has played one of her last games for Michigan, she has no plans to leave the soccer world.
“After I graduate, I plan on going into coaching,” Grech said. ” Hopefully, I can make it up to the collegiate level some day.”
Other seniors playing their final game at home for the Wolverines were Stephanie Chavez, Nicole D’Hondt and Shannon Reid.
“Anytime you spend four years anywhere, and you’re leaving, you get emotional,” assistant coach Dan Dalzochio said. “For these girls, an important part of their life is coming to a close.”
Tournament Bound?: The Wolverines’ hopes to qualify for the NCAA Tournament took a hit yesterday with the 2-1 loss to Kansas. To qualify for the tournament, a team must have a record of .500 or better. Michigan has one regular- season game remaining against No. 2 Notre Dame, and then it will travel to Madison to compete in the Big Ten Tournament. The only way the Wolverines could guarantee themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament would be to come out of Madison with the Big Ten Tournament championship.
If Michigan makes a run in the Big Ten Tournament, it may have an edge over other “bubble” teams because it has played some of its best soccer late in the season. Michigan is 5-2-3 in its last 10 games.