A single loss toward the end of the season usually won’t make or break a team. A losing streak will.

Tonight, after dropping four games in a rowA- – the most consecutive losses in the program’s history – the Michigan men’s soccer team (6-5-1) takes on the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (8-2-4) at home in hopes of ending its dismal pattern of dropping games. The Panthers, on the other hand, look to extend a five-game winning streak in their first ever matchup against the Wolverines.

In light of his team’s current situation, Michigan coach Steve Burns is confident in his players’ morale, and said he believes they still have the will to win games.

“I think the mood is upbeat right now, which is surprising after a series of losses,” Burns said. “I think our problems have been called out and we’re trying to make appropriate changes.”

Those problems that Burns alluded to were the lack of converting shots on goal by his front third players and the inability of his team to work with gaps in opponents’ formations. For the past four games, the Wolverines have racked up a total of just two goals and have been shut out in two games.

In light of this disappointing truth, Burns has conceded that his team has hit a rough spot but has remained confident and willing to have faith in a potential upsurge for the remainder of the season.

“The interesting thing is that we are still on track to do well this season,” Burns said. “We reassessed our goals this weekend, and all of them are still attainable.”

Burns is hopeful that his team can be successful at the Big Ten Championships, which are scheduled for three weeks from now. But he also believes that an NCAA seed is still viable for his Wolverines.

“Anytime you begin to have doubts about yourself and fear the lack of potential, it will affect a team,” Burns said. “It causes this rippling effect that begins to pull a team down.”

Fortunately for Burns, his captains have taken on the role of raising the team morale and getting them focused on the importance of winning.

“We have some key leadership on this team coming from the captains,” Burns said. “The unwavering confidence in these guys has kept the team together, and they are making the rest of the team follow in their footsteps.”

Burns pointed specifically to junior defender Kevin Hall as one of the pivotal leaders for pushing the rest of the team to play with more than just their physical abilities.

“Hall has these intangible qualities of heart and confidence,” Burns said. “He has stepped up and shown the guys on the team how to be leaders on and off the field.”

Hopefully, Hall will rub off on his fellow Wolverines tonight and give Michigan the win it has desperately needed for the past two weeks.

“Our mantra right now is to not worry about the future,” Burns said. “We need to work on controlling the present. Our opponent is not black and gold tonight. Our opponent is our potential.”

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