First Touch #8: U-M Battles Top-Ranked Akron Tuesday
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MGOBLUE

MGOBLUE

Oct. 18, 2010

Michigan at #1 Akron
Lee Jackson Field • Akron, Ohio
Tuesday, Oct. 19: U-M at Akron, 7:30 p.m. • Live Stats | Live Blog
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TAKING TO THE PITCH
The University of Michigan men's soccer team (8-3-3) travels to Akron, Ohio, to take on the top-ranked Akron Zips (11-0-1) on Tuesday night (Oct. 18) at 7:30 p.m. in its lone contest of the week. The game will be televised in Ohio on SportsTime Ohio Channel 32 and be played at Akron's Lee R. Jackson Soccer Field.

WOLVERINE TIDBITS

TV Time --This will be U-M's third television appearance this season. Michigan has a 1-1 record in televised games in 2010 with a win over No. 24 Penn State at the U-M Soccer Stadium on Oct. 3 and a loss to Indiana on Oct. 16; both games were televised on the Big Ten Network. The Akron game marks the first game the Wolverines play that will be televised locally this season. Michigan has a 2-7-1 record in televised games all-time.

Taking on the Big Guns -- For the second consecutive season, the Wolverines are taking on the top-ranked team during the regular season. Last season, Michigan hosted Akron at the U-M Soccer Complex and dropped a 5-1 contest but became one of only three teams to score a goal on the Zips. The Wolverines are taking on the top-ranked team in the country for just the second time in program history. Michigan will be taking on its fourth ranked opponent this season.

Wolverines Are Streaking -- Freshman forward Soony Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) has scored a goal in each of U-M's last three games, while a pair of teammates, senior Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Eisenhower) and redshirt senior Matt Schmitt (Muskegon, Mich./Reeths-Puffer) are also on a roll. Meram has tallied a goal in three of Michigan's last five games, while Schmitt has tallied one goal in three of U-M's last four games, including the game-winner against Wisconsin on Oct. 10. Saad leads Michigan with 11 goals and 23 points (11 goals, 1 assist), while Meram is second on the team in points with 16 points (5 goals, 6 assists).

Wolverines Quiet in the First Half Against Valparaiso and Indiana--Heading into last week's games, Michigan had tallied first-half goals in each of its last three games but could not manage any first-half goals in a 4-2 win over Valparaiso (Oct. 13) and in a 2-1 loss at Indiana (Oct. 16). For the season, the Wolverines have recorded six first-half markers compared to 16 in the second half.

U-M's Second-Half Offense Still Crucial --While the Wolverines have found their first-half offense, second-half scoring is still very important for this Wolverine squad. Michigan tallied a season-best four second-half goals against Valparaiso and cut the Indiana lead to 2-1 with a second-half goal. To date, Michigan is outscoring its opponents 16-10 in the second half and has outshot its opponent 156-101 in the second frame. The Wolverines are also outscoring its opponents 24-16 overall this season.

Wolverines vs. Zips -- The Wolverines and Zips have been playing each other on a yearly basis since the 2002 season when they first opened the series with an exhibition match. Of the eight games that the two teams have played, six of the games have been decided by one goal, including five of the last six meetings. Michigan last defeated Akron during the 2007 season, a 1-0 victory at home. Michigan will be looking for its first win at Akron in the series. Additionally, Michigan has a 19-16-2 record from teams from Ohio.

Leaders of The Big Ten -- The Wolverines continue to lead the Big Ten in shots (292) and shots per game (20.86), corners (97), fouls (172) and saves (64). Soony Saad also leads the league in shots (89) and shots per game (6.85), while forward Justin Meram is tied for second in the league in game-winning goals with three.

Wolverines in the National Rankings -- Soony Saad is making his way up the NCAA statistics rankings. Saad is currently tied for second in total goals (11), fifth in total points (23), fifth in goals per game (0.85) and 11th in points per game (1.77). Teammate Justin Meram is tied for 28th in assists with six on the season. As a team, the Wolverines are 26th in total goals (24).

A Little Bit of This and A Little Bit of That -- Michigan comes in at No. 9 in the NSCAA Great Lakes Region poll this week, falling from its No. 5 ranking last week. The Wolverines are also ranked No. 29 in the TopDrawerSoccer.com Tournament 48 poll. U-M is receiving votes in the NSCAA Poll this week. ... Entering this week's Big Ten soccer action, the Wolverines find themselves tied for third in the Big Ten standing with in-state rival Michigan State. The Wolverines and Spartans meet on Oct. 30 at the U-M Soccer Complex ... Brothers Hamoody and Soony Saad have tallied 14 goals between the two of them and one of the Saads has scored at least one goal in eight of Michigan's 14 games. Both of them scored goals against Detroit on Sept. 1 and Seattle on Sept. 12. They are the second set of brothers to play for the Wolverines and the first set to score goals in the same game. The pair also assisted each other for the first time this season when Soony assisted on Hamoody's goal against Penn State on Oct. 3 ... U-M will have its game against Bowling Green (Oct. 27) streamed live on BigTenNetwork.com.

NUMBERS GAME
U-M vs. Akron
-- 4-4-0
U-M on Television -- 2-7-1
U-M on the Road -- 31-46-13

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Oct. 27, 7 p.m. -- vs. Bowling Green (U-M Soccer Stadium) (Webcast: BigTenNetwork.com)
Saturday, Oct. 30, 1 p.m. -- vs. Michigan State (U-M Soccer Stadium)

Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423


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