Last season, the Michigan women’s soccer team struggled to
score goals and relied heavily on its defense and goaltending to
win games. As a freshman last year, Megan Tuura split time at
goalkeeper for the Wolverines, eventually winning the starting job
for the Big Ten and NCAA tournaments. Michigan has made a concerted
effort to score more goals this season, but when the offense
sputters, Tuura has been there to save the day.

Last weekend, Tuura posted back-to-back 1-0 shutouts at Purdue
and Indiana. The sophomore keeper has allowed just two goals in the
Wolverines’ last seven games.

“Megan has been solid for us all season long,”
Michigan coach Debbie Rademacher said. “We didn’t face
high-shot totals, so every shot that was on goal was pretty key.
She’s got great hands and didn’t give up rebounds, and
she was a steady force back there. She’s very
composed.”

While Michigan has increased its offensive output —
through 14 games this season, the Wolverines have found the back of
the net 23 times compared to only 12 during the same span last year
— Tuura has made the defense even stingier. Thus far, Tuura
has surrendered just 12 goals, three less than last year at this
point.

The improvements on offense and defense have the No. 13
Wolverines (6-1-1 Big Ten, 9-3-2 overall) in contention for a Big
Ten title and a run in the NCAA Tournament.

Tuura played in 20 games as a freshman — splitting time
with then-senior Suzie Grech — and posted five shutouts,
including back-to-back shutouts in the first two rounds of the NCAA
tournament. Tuura has already surpassed that mark this season,
posting six goose eggs so far.

The difference for Tuura has been confidence. As a freshman,
Tuura found herself anxious — not just about playing for top
a collegiate team, but also about adjusting to college life.

This season, Tuura has a better understanding of her
teammates’ tendencies which has helped her communicate and
coordinate the defense better.

Tuura’s great play and impressive numbers have garnered
her Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honors twice already this
season — the second of which came after her performance this
weekend.

“It’s a great honor, but it does single out one
person when we have a whole defense on the field and forwards that
are involved,” Tuura said. “I think we should get
defensive team of the week awards. I played well, but I think other
people should get credit.”

Tuura has received the Defensive Player of the Week award three
times in her career — tied for first in Michigan history with
Grech.

“I have an amazing defense in front of me — great
midfielders and a great offense as well,” Tuura said.
“Without them, I wouldn’t have shutouts or anything
like that — it’s basically due to them.”

Although humble about her accomplishments, Tuura doesn’t
hesitate when it comes to being a leader on the field.

“I personally do (consider myself a leader) because I have
to command my defense,” Tuura said. “I can see the
whole field, and I have to show them where the weak spots are to
get them to fix certain areas.”

Tuura will continue to lead the Wolverine defense as Michigan
continues its five-game road swing today at Oakland before
traveling to Wisconsin to take on the Badgers on Sunday.

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