Sept. 15, 2010
Site: Ann Arbor, Mich. (U-M Soccer Stadium)
Score: Michigan 2, Oakland 1
Records: U-M (3-1-1), Oakland (1-4-0)
Next U-M Game: Friday, Sept. 17 -- vs. Notre Dame (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7:30 p.m. (Dedication Game)
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Senior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Eisenhower) netted the game-winning goal in the 89th minute to give the University of Michigan men's soccer team a 2-1 victory over in-state rival Oakland University on Wednesday (Sept. 15) at the U-M Soccer Stadium. Michigan picked up its second win over an in-state opponent this season and earned its 21st win over teams from the state of Michigan under the direction of head coach Steve Burns.
Freshman Soony Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) led the U-M offense with seven shots and one goal, while Meram recorded five shots, with three reaching the frame, along with his game-winning marker. Senior Alex Wood (Northville, Mich./Northville) and sophomore Brian Klemczak (Livonia, Mich./Stevenson) each posted two assists, and redshirt junior goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Memorial) stopped four shots in 90 minutes of action.
With the game tied at 1-1 heading into the final 10 minutes of regulation, U-M picked up its intensity and got the ball moving out of the backfield and into the attacking third. Klemczak corralled the ball in the backfield and played it to Wood in the midfield. Wood then connected with Meram on a low ground ball right through the Oakland defense. Meram played the ball on the ground into the right corner of the net beyond the reach of Oakland goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt for the game-winner and his first goal of the season.
Saad gave the Wolverines an early 1-0 lead on a header in the 75th minute, taking a service from Wood in the Oakland box and putting it just past the Oakland goalkeeper. U-M's lead was short lived as Oakland tied the game just five minutes later.
In the first half, the Wolverines had several good scoring opportunities, including a shot from senior Matt Schmitt (Muskegon, Mich./Reeths-Puffer) that went barely wide of the net in the waning minutes of the opening period. Sophomore Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) also had a prime opportunity on a set piece in the opening minutes of the first half. He took a free kick from 22 yards outside of the goal and hit the crossbar, sending the ball out of play.
Michigan will dedicate the U-M Soccer Stadium on Friday (Sept. 17) when it hosts Notre Dame at 7:30 p.m. in the second half of a doubleheader with the women's team, which will take on Massachusetts at 5 p.m. The ceremony will take place at 7:05 p.m. when the Wolverines honor all those that made the $6 million U-M Soccer Complex a reality.
Shots: U-M 24, OU 7
Shots on Goal: U-M 6, OU 5
Saves: U-M 4 (Chris Blais), OU 4 (Mitch Hildebrandt)
Corner Kicks: U-M 9, OU 5
Fouls: U-M 20, OU 14
Cards: OU, Winston Henderson, 48:58 (Yellow); OU, Konner McNamara, 53:01 (Yellow); OU, James Leutzinger 61:16 (Yellow).
N O T E S
Michigan's 10 first-half shots are the fewest number of first-half shots that the Wolverines have had all season. The Wolverines, who finished the game with 24 shots, are averaging 28.0 shots per game this season.
Michigan improved its record to 21-11-6 against in-state opponents with tonight's win. U-M has faced Detroit and Oakland and will take on Michigan State later this season.
Michigan associate head coach Paul Snape was facing his alma mater. He was a four-year letterwinner at Oakland and was a three-time All-Mid Continent performer for the Grizzlies.
For the third time this season Michigan scored all of its goals in the second half. All of Michigan's goals, with the exception of the first goal of the season, have come in the second half. U-M is currently out-shooting its opponents 72-24 in the second half.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Steve Burns
On the final minutes of play ... "The last two minutes for us were about winning at home and defending our stadium and showing that we have the heart and character to figure out ways to win games, and we did. Good teams figure out ways to win."
On the second half ... "Soccer is a player-centered game and that means that the players are making decisions on the field and the players are feeling out the other team and are accessing their strengths and weaknesses. I thought we did a good job in the first half. I thought we played well and created some chances but we didn't score. We were able to address a couple of things at halftime and we got the right personnel back on the field to try and take advantage of anything that we've seen in the first half, and our guys are making great mental adjustments. And Alex Wood played great again and showed he is a guy that can help be the engine of the team."
Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423