Blue Collar Blog: Conference Play
Tyler Leppek

Sept. 26, 2013

The Wolverines will give fans the inside scoop on the goings on of Michigan men's soccer all season in the Blue Collar Blog. Tyler Leppek brings us installment number six.

Hi all, this is senior defender, Tyler Leppek, with the newest edition of our team's Blue Collar Blog!

I hope you haven't forgotten about us through our recent three game road swing, and to those of you who travelled with us, or watched the live streams online, thank you for your continued support! We know that we can play anywhere with support of the great University of Michigan family.

Recapping the past week, we garnered an all-important road win against a good West Virginia side in Morgantown, where we fought off some late adversity and joined together to win in overtime. What a strike from Colin McAtee I must say, but closing out games has been what we have focused on throughout the season, as it really showed with this crucial overtime victory.

From West Virginia we travelled to my hometown, Rochester Hills, Mich., to take on a local rival, Oakland University. This rivalry has increased in importance in the past years as one of our former coaching staff members, Andy Wagstaff, and a former forward, Matt Rickard, joined the Golden Grizzlies. I know I can speak for the other upperclassmen that wore the block M alongside these two -- in saying that this fueled us in our pursuit of victory.

While we only captured one of the three points we had hoped for, we showed signs of readiness for what the Big Ten season has to offer by getting our first shutout of the season. Highlighted by Adam Grinwis' 10 saves, and an organized backline, it was a huge positive step for the team. The next step: getting a result from the attackers and the backline simultaneously.

As we enter our Big Ten season this Saturday against a quality Northwestern group, 7 p.m. at U-M Soccer Stadium, expect a unified effort to start off our second season, so to speak. One of our major goals for the year was to secure the program's first regular season Big Ten title, the single honor our senior class has yet to accomplish. The key is yet, as we know that we are developing into a team able to accomplish our many goals.

As the leader of the Orange Crush many have come to know us as, mentoring the young guys and keeping a positive attitude amongst the team has become my established practice here at the University of Michigan. After the coaching staff honored me with the Clubman of the Year award last year, I knew the integration of the freshman class would be largely part of my work. It is never easy going through a coaching change, or having as many new guys as we did, however, in my opinion, we have overcome both and are clicking as a team. With the fusion of our returners along with our large incoming class complete, we are now a team to watch out for.

Hope to see you Saturday against the No. 7 Wildcats, and throughout the rest of the year. Once again, thank you for your continued support, and wherever you go, Go Blue!

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