The Michigan women’s club soccer team is filled with heart and determination.
Being a club sport with limited funds from the University, the women not only show their love for the game on the field, but also with their checkbook. Each team member will spend close to $1,000 during the course of a lengthy season for numerous dues and travel expenses.
But they love the game and this weekend, the largely self-supported team completed in the Regional Tournaments at Indiana. With four grueling games in two days in foreign territory, the team surpassed a major hump in their schedule. The team finished 3-1, losing in the final round. During its seven-hour commute home from Indiana yesterday, the team had already put its first loss of the season out if its memory, ready to continue on the track to a national championship.
“It’s very draining to be on the road. Our team has a pretty good time on the road, but it’s very tiring,” senior club president Meghan Harrison said. “We travel a lot, and it’s tough to be students as well as athletes, when we arrive home at midnight from these long trips in the van.”
In yesterday’s first game, the Wolverines faced Ohio State, one of their biggest rivals in the Ohio River Soccer Conference, in the semifinals of the regionals. After two close wins on Saturday against Indiana and Purdue, the Wolverines needed every bit of their desire in order to overcome the Buckeyes.
“Ohio State is a very physical team,” Harrison said. “They took a lot of cheap shots, and the officials were not calling the penalties. We kept our composure, and we were determined to play the way we know how to play soccer, and not stoop down to their level.”
This steadfast adherence to the Michigan game plan resulted in a nail-biting 1-0 victory for the Wolverines.
The team could only rest for a few hours before they faced Miami (Ohio) for the championship that afternoon. The Wolverines could not score a goal until the last three minutes, resulting in the 2-1 loss – their first of the season.
“Sometimes things just don’t go your way,” Harrison said about the unexpected blemish on the Wolverines’ record, which is now 15-1.
Although Michigan is favored to win the conference championships on Nov. 9 and 10, there is one team looking to dethrone the surging Wolverines.
“Penn State knocked us out of the championships last year. Earlier this season, that motivated us to beat them 3-0,” Harrison said. “In the conferences, they’re going to want revenge. They’ll be out for blood.”
Hopefully for the Wolverines, that will not be the case, as they continue to compete with the passion that has brought them to national prominence.
“Our main goal is to play to the best of our ability, which would ultimately lead us to a national championship,” Harrison said. “If we can combine our skill with our heart and desire, we can win it all.”