After splitting two games for the second consecutive week, the Michigan women’s soccer team looks to make like a janitor and sweep its games this weekend. The Wolverines head to East Lansing today to take on the Spartans, and then come back on Sunday to face Oakland at home.
The game against the Spartans will undoubtedly be a knee-knocking battle for state supremacy. Coach Debbie Rademacher noted that this is a good motivating factor for the team.
“We’re playing for state pride, playing Michigan State,” she said. “We want to be the best program in the state, so there’s a lot that we’re playing for.”
The game against the Grizzlies is equally important, but for a different reason. For the seven seniors on this year’s team it could mark the last time that they will step onto Varsity Field sporting the maize and blue uniform.
The Wolverines (7-2-0 Big Ten, 12-4-0 overall) are still waiting to see if Ann Arbor will be deemed one of the sites for this year’s NCAA tournament.
The 2002-2003 senior class has compiled an impressive four-year record of 55-27-3, highlighted by trips to the NCAA Tournament in each of the last three years. They are an amazing 31-7-1 at home going into Sunday’s game.
“Every senior class has a different personality,” Rademacher said. “The difference is there’s a lot of them, so obviously they’re a core of the team. Six of them are starting players.
Picking one player among the seniors who stands out is often a challenging task, but this year Abby Crumpton instantly comes to mind. Crumpton, a forward, is at the top of most of the offensive categories in the Big Ten.
She is currently third in points and second in goals all-time at Michigan. With three regular season games left, she has a very good chance to become the all-time leader in both categories.
“She’s one of our best players ever to come through the program,” Rademacher said. “She’s done so much for us in terms of her speed and athleticism.
“She’s taken us to the next level, and we’ll definitely miss her when she leaves.”
Crumpton noted that it will be hard finishing out her career.
“I’ve enjoyed my four years here,” she said. “It’s kind of sad.”
“We set the standard for this program. Ninth in the country – we’ve never been ranked that high before.”