Sept. 19, 2012
The University of Michigan men's soccer team (2-4, 0-0 Big Ten) will square off against its third straight undefeated opponent Sunday (Sept. 23) at 3 p.m. CDT at No. 21 Northwestern (5-0-2, 0-0 Big Ten) at Lakeside Field in Evanston, Ill. Michigan is 9-5-1 all-time against the Wildcats and defeated the Wildcats at Lakeside Field, 4-2, on Nov. 6, 2010, in the last meeting of the two sides in Evanston.
Last season in Ann Arbor, the Wolverines were defeated by the Wildcats, 1-0, on Nov. 5, 2011. The match, serving as Senior Night for U-M, saw departing seniors Jarrett Kerr, Eric Leifland, Tim Bergsma, and Adam Shaw earn starting nods. Michigan conceded a goal from Chris Ritter in the 84th minute to give the Wildcats the Big Ten regular-season clinching victory.
The match concludes the toughest three-match stretch from U-M in recent memory, as the last three opponents U-M has faced owned a combined record of 15-0-2, and all three were ranked in the NSCAA top 25. The stretch marks the first time in program history U-M has played a trio of ranked opponents in a row in regular-season competition. The first time the Wolverines squared off against ranked opponents in three straight matches was in the 2010 NCAA College Cup run, when the Wolverines took on No. 18 South Carolina, No. 3 Maryland and No. 2 Akron.
Overall, Michigan's opponents thus far this season own a combined record of 27-9-3.
Wolverines Battle Close with Nations Best -- The Wolverines outshot the No. 17 Marquette Golden Eagles by a 15-9 count on and held a 1-0 at halftime advantage on Tyler Arnone's first goal of the season Sept. 14 in Milwaukee. However, the Wolverines surrendered a pair of goals in the 51st and 63rd minutes to fall 2-1 at Valley Field.
Two days later on Sept. 16, Michigan returned to the pitch for its shortest turnaround time of the season to take on the No. 8 Notre Dame Fighting Irish from U-M Soccer Stadium. The Wolverines had their chances in the matchup with four shots in the first half and five in the second but were unable to break the 0-0 score heading into overtime.
Michigan eventually conceded a score from Ryan Finley in the 104th minute of overtime off a free-kick from the right flank to end the match and give Michigan its second straight defeat. Goalkeeper Adam Grinwis tied a career high with eight saves in the match, tying his previous best against Penn State on Oct. 11, 2011.
Wolverines Knock Off Previously Undefeated Northeastern, 4-1 -- The Wolverines used a four-score outburst and a season high of 20 shots en route to defeat previously undefeated Northeastern by a 4-1 count Sunday, Sept. 9. U-M used a pair of goals from Kofi Opare and a goal and a pair of assists from Fabio Pereira for the majority of scoring punch, while Latif Alashe also notched his second score of the season in the win. In total, U-M collected 11 points in terms of scoring, which are tied for the highest in the conference thus far this season. Tyler Arnone and James Murphy also collected points on the match for U-M in victory number two this season.
Offense Shines against Huskies -- In the win over Northeastern, Michigan had 12 shots at halftime, equaling a season high with a half to play. In total, the Wolverines had 20 shots on the match, as well as a season-high four goals, which was the highest number of scores since U-M downed Detroit 4-1 on Sept. 14, 2011.
Finding Paydirt -- With nine goals in six matches this season, Michigan has already eclipsed the scoring total for the first six matches of last season. Michigan started off last season with a 1-4-1 mark while scoring only five goals in those matches.
The Starting XI -- Five Wolverines have found themselves in the starting XI in each match this season, with four the six being seniors in Latif Alashe and Brian Klemczak. Two sophomores also made the list, as Tyler Arnone and Adam Grinwis have received nods in the first six matches, while Luke Coulson is the lone freshman to receive the honor. Grinwis and Arnone are the lone Wolverines to play all 554 minutes of match action this season.
Scouting the Wildcats -- The Wildcats are the third straight undefeated squad U-M will face and enter the match ranked No. 21 in the country. Northwestern will enter the match second in the Big Ten in goals with 12, and leads the league in assists with 14. Three players in Joey Calistri (eight), Kyle Schickel (six) and Eric Weberman (5) all rank in the top-seven in the Big Ten in points, while Calistri is third in the league in goals with four (two game-winners), while Schickel is fourth with a trio of scores. Midfielder Grant Wilson leads the league in assists with four.
Tyler Miller is third in the league with a 0.66 goals-against average, and owns a save percentage of .792 to go along with 19 saves on the season. Miller and the Northwestern defense have also collected a trio of clean sheets on the season.
Mencia Notches First Goal -- Mencia, who subbed on in the 29th minute, tallied the first goal in his Michigan career in the USF match and played 50 minutes in total. After struggling with injuries in the preseason, Mencia's lone shot of the night found the back of the net.
Since finding time as a substitute in the match, he has been a fixture in the starting XI for U-M, starting the last five matches for the Wolverines at left back.
Penalty Kick Prowess -- Junior Fabio Pereira converted his first penalty kick of the season against Northeastern in the 27th minute, marking the second successful try in his career. In his three seasons in Ann Arbor, Pereira is 2-for-3 on penalty attempts, with his first successful attempt coming against Kentucky last season in a 2-1 defeat.
Coulson Notches Points against Vermont -- Freshman Luke Coulson became the first U-M player this season to tally double-digit points in a single match this season against Vermont, first tallying an assist on a Latif Alashe score in the 24th minute, and then tallied his own score in the 34th minute for three points in one match. He currently holds the team lead in points on the season with four, as he tallied his first helper of the season on a Dylan Mencia score in the opening match of the season against South Florida.
Newcomers Make Maize & Blue Debut -- Four Wolverines made their career debuts in Maize and Blue as junior transfer T.J. Roehn, redshirt freshman Colin McAtee and true freshmen Luke Coulson and James Murphy all saw action, with McAtee, Coulson and Murphy finding the starting 11. Against Vermont, both Ben Manko (20 minutes) and Jason Stacy made collegiate debuts, playing 16 minutes, while Jack Brown made his debut against Northeastern, logging 15 minutes of action against Northeastern.
Alashe's Streak -- Senior Latif Alashe is riding a consecutive start streak of 69 matches heading into the weekend, having never missed a match in his Maize and Blue career. After playing more of a wide midfield role the past several seasons, Alashe will also see time as a central midfielder in the 2012 campaign.
New Coaching Staff Takes Shape -- Former Providence College head man Chaka Daley was named the second head coach in program history Dec. 23, 2011, after 12 seasons at his alma mater.
In the past seven seasons, he guided the Friars to a 72-47-21 mark, and led his alma mater to seven consecutive winning seasons and five NCAA Tournament appearances. The Friars hosted NCAA Tournament match-ups during the 2010 and 2011 campaigns. He owns a career record of 90-111-27 heading into his 13th season as a head coach.
Upon his appointment as head coach, Daley hired former Columbia assistant Tommy McMenemy, as well as former Columbus Crew Youth Coach Ian Gordona. Additionally, Daley tabbed Jhojan Obando, a former Providence College standout goalkeeper and 2011 MLS Combine Invitee, as volunteer assistant coach.
New Kit Features -- This season's kits feature new wrinkles, most notably on the back and arm of the jersey. Just under the back collar of the jersey is a stitched in 'Hail to the Victors,' while block 'M's are located in the bottom of each digit on each player's back. Additionally, the right arm features a stitched-on patch of a Big Ten logo.
Trio of Captains Named -- Latif Alashe, Kofi Opare and Brian Klemczak were named captains by head coach Chaka Daley. Klemczak will be serving as a captain for the second time after garnering the honor for the first time in 2011. Alashe and Opare will each wear the armband for the first time this season. Klemczak will hold the honor of bearing the captains armband during each match if all three are on the field at once.
Wolverines in the MLS -- A pair of former Wolverines have seen action in Major League Soccer matches this season in Justin Meram and Soony Saad, both of whom starred on the 2010 squad's magical run to the College Cup. Meram, who plays for the Columbus Crew, has played in 16 matches with nine starts, and has tallied a trio of scores on the season. Additionally, he has chipped in one assist and has 23 shots.
Saad has seen action in nine matches this season with a pair of starts, and has fired seven shots with two on goal. He has been a mainstay in the Sporting KC reserves, starting all seven matches and tallying two goals as well as one assist.
Keep Up With the Wolverines -- Stay current with everything going on with your Wolverines by following Michigan men's soccer on Twitter by following @umichsoccer, @ChakaDaley, and "liking" the Wolverines on Facebook!