Falling just short.
It seemed to be the theme for the No. 22 Michigan women’s soccer team this weekend.
After Friday’s 2-1 loss to Indiana at Armstrong Stadium in Bloomington, the Wolverines headed into West Lafayette, aching to end up on the rigaht side of scoreboard. But, again, they found themselves just shy, losing 1-0 to Purdue yesterday.
The game between Michigan (1-2 Big Ten, 5-4-2 overall) and Purdue (3-1. 7-5) turned into a defensive battle early, with each team pulling off just five shots apiece.
The Wolverines’ defense held the Boilermakers scoreless in the first 45 minutes led by defender Brenna Mulholland.
Although coach Debbie Rademacher did not return phone calls, she made comments through Athletic Media Relations:
“(Mulholland) had a good first half,” Rademacher said. “She definitely, in the first half, shut down No. 5 for Purdue. In the second half, she played centrally a little bit. She played tough.”
But it just took one defensive breakdown by the Wolverines’ to cost them the game. At 59:42, Purdue forward Jessica Okoroafo put the moves on – and got by – the Michigan defense, scoring the game’s only goal on a breakaway that caught Tuura out of position.
“It was a really tight game, not a lot of getting behind both defenses,” Rademacher said. “A lot of shots were from distance. It was hard to get balls in behind the defense.”
The Boilermakers’ late lead gave them an added spark, and Michigan managed just three shots on goal following the Purdue advantage.
The Wolverines had one final chance with three minutes to play but failed to capitalize on the late corner.
Michigan didn’t fare much better against Indiana on Friday.
It fell behind the Hoosiers (1-3. 5-6-1) midway through the first half when Indiana senior Kristen Zmijewski sailed one past Michigan goalie Megan Tuura from 30 yards out.
“We certainly had our chances,” Rademacher said. “We outshot them and had some great opportunities against the run of play. It wasn’t a really pretty game, but (Indiana) just stuck them in.”
Indiana played physically, committing 12 fouls in the first half alone. But Michigan got revenge at 35:46.
Forward Jamie Artsis scored her first goal of the season on a dish from junior Judy Coffman to tie the game 1-1.
“It was good for (Artsis) to get that monkey off her back and put a ball in,” Rademacher said. “It’s definitely a confidence boost.”
Indiana came out hard in the second half, and forward Kristin Radcliff clinched it for the Hoosiers on a cross from forward Megan Pipkens.
The Wolverines return to Big Ten play at 7 p.m. Friday at the U-M Soccer Field against Northwestern.