Although it managed a 2-0 victory over Western Michigan, the Michigan women”s soccer team seemed to be thinking more about the Big Ten Tournament this week instead of the game at hand.
The result was a lack of intensity, and coach Debbie Rademacher described the play of the Wolverines as an “uninspiring performance.”
Rademacher was pleased with the team”s early play, though. Amy Sullivant scored the first goal less than four minutes into the contest. Forward Abby Crumpton, who dribbled the ball up the field uncontested and tapped it to Sullivant to set up the shot, recorded the assist. Crumpton scored a goal herself with 25:02 remaining in the first half to make the score 2-0. It was one of the last signs of life from the Wolverine offense.
“Sometimes you get up early (in the game) and get a bit complacent,” Rademacher said.
In the second half, the Wolverines forced Broncos” goalie Megan Ramey to make just two saves and couldn”t find the back of the net once.
Western Michigan gave the team a wake-up call in the second half when midfielder Mary Gignac blasted a shot off the crossbar of Michigan”s goal.
The Wolverines had better be awake this Thursday. No. 2 seed Michigan will face No. 7 Michigan State in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament.
This will be the second time the teams have faced each other in two weeks. The Wolverines defeated the Spartans 2-1 in a come-from-behind victory on a rainy and windy day at the Varsity Soccer Field on Oct. 26.
Michigan hopes the tournament will provide a chance to avenge a 6-2 loss to top-seeded Penn State earlier this year. The two would meet in the finals for the third year in a row if they survive the first two rounds. Last season, Michigan lost 1-0 in triple overtime but in 1999 the Wolverines were Big Ten Tournament champions after a 4-2 victory.
In order to beat the Nittany Lions again, the Wolverines will have to contain All-America forward Christie Welsh. Four weeks ago, she scored four of Penn State”s six goals and assisted on the other two.
“Playing Christie Welsh and Penn State she”s not only huge, but she is fast and she is mobile. That gets tough,” Michigan captain Carly Williamson said.
Yesterday”s home game was the last for seniors Laurie Peterson, Alissa Shaw and Becky Kozlik. Each saw substantial action and Kozlik almost picked up the first point of her career with a nice pass that nearly resulted in a Michigan goal.
“There are only three of them, it”s a small class and it feels like they have been here forever,” Rademacher said.
The 5-foot-10 Peterson, one of the team”s three captains, has started 17 games this season and her absence will be missed next year.
“Laurie is our ball-winner, especially in the air at mid-field,” Rademacher said.