First Touch #8: U-M Squares Off With No. 1 Akron, In-State Rival MSU

Oct. 19, 2009

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 4 p.m. -- vs. No. 1 Akron (U-M Soccer Complex)
Live Stats
Sunday, Oct. 25, 2:30 p.m. -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.)
Live Stats

The University of Michigan men's soccer team (9-3-1, 1-2-0 Big Ten), which comes in with 99 wins in program history, welcomes top-ranked Akron to the U-M Soccer Complex on Tuesday (Oct. 20) to conclude non-conference action. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. on the west practice field. This will be the eighth meeting between the Wolverines and the Zips and the first time the Wolverines have faced a No.1-ranked team. Michigan will jump back into league action on Sunday (Oct. 25) with a trip to East Lansing, Mich., to battle Michigan State for the Big Bear Trophy. Kickoff is set for 2:30 p.m. at Michigan State's DeMartin Soccer Complex.

The Wolverines have a 8-1-1 record in non-conference action this season and are on an nine-game non-conference unbeaten streak. The only non-conference game the Wolverines have dropped this season was to Notre Dame on Sept. 1. U-M enters the Michigan State game with a 1-2-0 conference record after falling to No. 14 Indiana on Oct. 10.


Hands-On Night -- This event is a fun and educational way to get the family out of the house and into some fun this fall. The Ann Arbor Hands-On Museum will be bringing out exhibits for kids and families to participate in prior to the game. Make sure to bring a canned-good to donate.

Middle School Soccer Team Night -- All local middle school soccer teams will be in attendance to represent their schools at the game.

Harley Day -- Start Your Engines!! We welcome all Harley owners to display their bikes at the soccer fields. Fans will then vote for the coolest bike. All Harley owners will receive a commemorative pin as thanks for being a part of the event. The winner of the Coolest Bike award will receive a gift certificate to a local Harley store.

Akron -- Akron leads, 4-3-0
Michigan State -- Michigan State leads, 8-2-1

Sunday, Nov. 1, 1 p.m. -- vs. Northwestern (U-M Soccer Complex)
Saturday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio)

Complete Stats: Through 10/14/09

2009 Leaders

Mauro Fuzetti128319
Justin Meram136618
Hamoody Saad135515

Chris Blais13-139-3-10.95.800

Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn)
Freshman midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) has joined forces with senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) and junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College) to form a potent U-M offense. Saad picked up his sixth multi-point game of the season with a goal and an assist against Cincinnati (Oct. 14), and is the third-leading scorer on the team with five goals on the season. Not only can Saad score the ball, he can also distribute. He is second on the team with five assists and recorded two assists in U-M's 5-1 win over Western Michigan on Sept. 19. He was named to the National Team of the Week on Sept. 21 for his goal and two assists against Western Michigan.

Wolverines Close Out Non-Conference Action with No. 1 Akron
The Wolverines will conclude the non-conference schedule when they take on top-ranked Akron (Oct. 20). U-M has an 8-1-1 non-conference record and will put its nine-game non-conference unbeaten streak on the line against the Zips. In fact, the Wolverines have not dropped a non-conference match at the U-M Soccer Complex this season and are a perfect 4-0 against non-conference foes on their home field this season.

Squaring Off Against No. 1
The Wolverine and Zips will be meeting for the eighth time but this will be the first time that they have played with the Zips being the best team in the country. The last two times these teams met Akron was ranked in the top 25. Last season, the Zips were ranked No. 5 in a 1-0 Akron victory. This will be the first time in program history that the Wolverines have taken on the top-ranked team in the nation.

Big Bear Trophy and State Pride on the Line at Michigan State
When the Wolverines jump back into conference action at Michigan State more than bragging rights for the entire year will be on the line as the Wolverines and Spartans will be battling for the Big Bear Trophy -- a wood statute purchased by U-M head coach Steve Burns to commemorate the rivalry. The traveling hardware has been up for grabs in each regular-season meeting between the two schools since 2000. The Wolverines are looking to bring the trophy back to Ann Arbor as the Spartans have claimed the last four games. U-M first claimed the award in 2003 with a 4-2 win in East Lansing, Mich.

Wolverines are Solid Against In-State Foes
When U-M matches up with Michigan State on Sunday (Oct. 25) it will be the fourth time this season the Wolverines have faced an in-state opponent. U-M defeated Detroit, 3-1, on Sept. 16, Western Michigan, 5-1, on Sept. 19, and tied Oakland, 0-0, on Sept. 30. The Wolverines have an 18-10-6 record against opponents from the state of Michigan.

Against Teams from Ohio
The Wolverines have a 17-14-2 record against teams from the state of Ohio and have taken on a team from the Buckeye State in each year that men's soccer has been a varsity sport at Michigan.

U-M and Akron = Nailbiters
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 seven games that the two teams have played, six of the games have been decided by one goal, including each of the last five meetings. Michigan last defeated Akron during the 2007 season, a 1-0 victory at home. U-M has never lost to Akron at home and boasts a 4-0 record against the national powerhouse on its home field.

Wolverine Offense Slowed in Losses
The Wolverines have only dropped three games this season, but in each of those losses they have failed to score a goal. U-M has been held scoreless in four games this season, three of which resulted in a loss. Overall, the Wolverines are outscoring their opponents, 26-13, this season but are being outscored 8-0 in their losses.

Fuzetti on Fire
Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) has been a crucial piece to the U-M offense this season. Fuzetti, who leads the team with eight goals and 19 points, has scored in each game that he has played in this season, with the exception of the season opener at Notre Dame and last week at Cincinnati. In fact, Fuzetti has accounted for 30 percent of U-M's offense this season.

As Fuzetti Goes so Does Michigan Offense
Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) is undoubtedly an important piece in U-M's offensive scheme but just how important is Fuzetti? The Wolverines are 7-0-0 this season when Fuzetti scores a goal. The only times Fuzetti has not scored a goal came in a 5-1 win at Western Michigan on Sept. 19 and a 2-0 win at Cincinnati (Oct. 14) and the four games U-M has been shut out: losses to Notre Dame on Sept. 1, Penn State on Sept. 27 and Indiana on Oct. 10, as well as a 0-0 tie with Oakland on Sept. 30.

Fuzetti Moving Up the Ranks
Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) is poised to make some noise in the U-M record book this season. Fuzetti, who is U-M's leading scorer with eight goals on the season, is tied for third all-time at U-M with 61 career points and is fourth with 23 career goals. He is also second all-time with 166 shots. Fuzetti is also poised to break into U-M's top five all-time in assists. He currently has 15 career assists and only needs one more to move into a tie for fifth place with former U-M great Knox Cameron (2001-03).

Saad Creates U-M Offensive Trio
Freshman midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich. /Dearborn) is not playing like a freshman and his opponents are starting to take notice. Saad, who is U-M's third-leading scorer with five goals, has formed a viable offensive trio with senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) and junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College). Saad has the ability to both score and distribute, making him dangerous in the U-M offense. He has posted six multi-point games and has 15 points on the season. He was named to the National Team of the Week on Sept. 22 for his two assists and a goal against Detroit on Sept. 16 and Western Michigan on Sept. 19.

All Freshmen, All The Time
U-M is no doubt a young team this season, but it does not seem to be slowing it at all. The Wolverines have 11 players that are seeing their first collegiate action, including nine that are true freshmen. In addition, U-M has four freshmen that have seen time in the starting lineup. In fact, true freshman midfielder Latif Alashe (Northville, Mich. /Northville) has started every game this season, while true freshmen midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich. /Dearborn) and defender Kofi Opare (Niagara Falls, Ontario/St. Paul) have each recorded a goal this season. Redshirt freshman Alex Klein (Seattle, Wash. /The Bush School) also recorded his first career marker this season.

Just Blais
Junior/sophomore goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash. /Kennedy Memorial) backstopped the Wolverines to a seven-game win streak this season and did so in impressive fashion. In his first outing, he recorded a career-best six saves against Notre Dame on Sept. 1 and also posted back-to-back shutouts, against Wright State on Sept. 11 and Lipscomb on Sept. 13 at the Michigan Invitational. He went 258:49 without being scored on until Detroit scored a goal in the 28th minute on Sept. 16. He recently collected his third and fourth shutouts of the season with a 0-0 tie against Oakland on Sept. 30 and a 3-0 win over Wisconsin on Oct. 4. Blais was named to the National Team of the Week on Oct. 19 for picking up his fifth shutout of the season in a 2-0 win at Cincinnati while tying his career high with six saves.

U-M Men's Soccer Program Approaching 100th victory
The Wolverine men's soccer team is approaching its 100th program victory. U-M has a 99-75-19 program record heading into this weekend and needs only one more win to reach the century mark. Head coach Steve Burns will also pick up his 100th career victory at the helm of the program; Burns has the distinction of being the only head coach in U-M men's soccer history.

Moving to the West Practice Field
U-M's game against Akron (Oct. 14) will mark the last game to be played this season on the competition field at the U-M Soccer Complex. The men's and women's soccer teams will conclude the rest of the home season on the west practice field as construction on the new stadium is set to begin. The Wolverines played four games on the west practice field last season and went 3-1.

The Week That Was
The Wolverines bounced back from a heartbreaking 1-0 loss to Big Ten rival Indiana (Oct. 10) with a 2-0 shutout victory over Cincinnati on Wednesday (Oct. 14). Freshman midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) collected his fifth goal of the season with the gamewinner just eight minutes into the first half, while junior defender Jeff Quijano (Simi Valley, Calif./Canoga) posted his second goal of the season to ice the game in the 21st minute. Junior/sophomore goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Memorial) tied his career best with six saves and picked up his fifth shutout of the season. The victory moved the Wolverines to 8-1-1 in non-conference action and extended their non-conference unbeaten streak to nine consecutive games.

Wolverines Rank High In Big Ten Rankings
Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) is ranked in several categories in the Big Ten offensive statistics. He is tied for second in shot per game (4.00) and is second in points per game (1.58), goals per game (0.67) and goals (8). He is third in points (19) and fourth in shots (48). Junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich. /Yavapai College) is tied for first in the league in assists with six helpers on the season and in assists per game (0.46), while freshman midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich. /Dearborn) is third with five assists. Junior/sophomore goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Memorial) is tied for second in the league in saves with 48 and is tied for second with five shutouts on the season. Blais is also fourth in save percentage with .800 and saves per game (3.69). As a team, U-M leads the league in points (88), goals (28), goals per game (2.15), assists (32) and assists per game (2.46) and is second in shots with 228.

U-M Hold Several Big Ten Team Highs
Individually, junior forward Justin Meram's (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College) three goals and seven points against Bowling Green are tops for a Big Ten player this season, while Mauro Fuzetti's (Houston, Texas/Stratford) 11 shots against Wright State are tops in the Big Ten this season. As a team, the Wolverines also own several top spots. U-M's 18 points against Western Michigan and 16 points against Bowling Green are the top two team highs for a Big Ten season and the five goals U-M scored against Western Michigan and Bowling Green are among the top goals scored this season. U-M's eight assists against Western Michigan are also tops for a Big Ten team this season, while its 31 shots against Oakland are second best this season.

Several Wolverines Ranked Nationally
The U-M men's soccer team has several players that are ranked nationally. Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) is ranked 23rd in points per game (1.58) and 20th in goals per game (0.67). Junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College) is ranked 32nd in assists per game (0.46), while the Wolverines as a team have the 11th-best scoring offense and are 25th in win-loss percentage.

In the National Rankings This Week
The Wolverines are just outside the rankings in the latest NSCAA/adidas national poll, released on Oct. 20. In the NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes region poll, U-M is ranked No. 9. Last week, the Wolverines were receiving votes in the national poll and were ranked No. 10 in the regional poll. Additionally, the Maize and Blue is ranked No. 21 in's tournament 48 poll and No. 27 in College Soccer News' Top 30.

Former Wolverine Peri Marosevic Pens a Diary from the Under-20 World Cup in Egypt
Former Wolverine forward Peri Marosevic, a member of FC Dallas of the MLS, penned a Under-20 World Cup Diary of his experiences with the USA U-20 National Team at the upcoming World Cup being held Sept. 24-Oct.16 in Egypt. Peri has spent time with the Under-20 national team at the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) Under-20 Championship in March in Trinidad & Tobago. [ Check it out here ]

2009 Season Marks U-M's First Decade
The U-M men's soccer team will celebrate its first decade this season. The Wolverines played their first season as a varsity team in 2000 and have been to three NCAA Tournaments, including an Elite Eight appearance in 2003, their first appearance in the national tournament. The Wolverines honored the 2000 men's soccer team, it's first season as a varsity sport, at their annual alumni weekend.

Introducing the Captain and his helpers
Senior defender Daniel Gray (Setauket, N.Y./Chaminade) is serving as a captain for the second consecutive season. Last season, Gray served as a tri-captain with Mike Holody and Jake Stacy, but this season Gray is leading the Wolverines by himself but not without help. In something new this season, junior defender Chase Tennant (Rochester, Mich. /Rochester) and senior Julian Robles (Los Angeles, Calif./Damien) will be serving as assistant captains.

Captains Corner
U-M senior captain Daniel Gray (Setauket, N.Y./Chaminade) will give readers a glimpse inside the men's soccer program with his captain's blog, Captains Corner with Danny Gray. [ Check out his blog ]

Hey...We're on Twitter!
Michigan men's soccer is now on Twitter. Sign up and follow the Wolverines (Michigan_msocc) with up-to-the-minute news and information throughout the season and beyond. Twitter is a free casual, online social network that is designed to connect businesses, organizations and individuals. Each Twitter post (or "tweet") can be received on a user's cell phone via text or on the web.

2009 Yearbook and Record Book
Beginning with the 2009-10 academic year, the University of Michigan athletics department will no longer print media guides. U-M fans and media can still obtain all the information they're used to, only now it's available online. If you're looking for in-depth historical information, statistics, records, archives, etc., the Record Book is what you'll need. For more of a general overview of a team, the staff and student-athletes, check out the Yearbook. [ Check them both out in our new publications section ]

The U-M Soccer Complex
The Wolverines moved into the U-M Soccer Complex during the 2008 campaign, a three-field, soccer-exclusive facility that is part of a $6 million project that is funded by Intercollegiate Athletics resources and gifts. Work will begin on the stadium, slated to open in the fall of 2010, in October on the site of the current competition field. The men's soccer team played its home games at the Michigan Soccer Field, an all-grass field on South State Street since its inaugural season in 2000 and compiled a 38-18-7 record in eight seasons. The first game played by the men's team was a 1-0 victory over DePaul. The field also played host to 2004 Big Ten Championship and twice was the site of a U-M NCAA Tournament contest.

The Leader of the Maize and Blue
Steve Burns enters his 10th season at the helm of the University of Michigan men's soccer program. He has guided the Wolverines to three NCAA Tournament appearances, seen the team to varsity status, overseen the proposition and execution of the new U-M Soccer Complex and built a program that is consistently among the nation's elite. Burns' resume also includes leading the U-M club soccer team to back-to-back national titles.

Burns' staff is made up of associate head coach Paul Snape, assistant coach Chris Grassie and volunteer assistant Waldir DeSouza. Snape is in his seventh season with the U-M program and was recently elevated to his current position of associate head coach after spending six seasons as the first assistant. Prior to his tenure at Michigan, Snape spent seven seasons playing with the Mid-Michigan Bucks. Grassie, who enters his third season with the Wolverines, played professionally in England, most recently with Kidsgrove Athletic, then a part of the Alliance Premier League, and Northwich when it was part of the Football Conference. He also spent the 2004-06 season on staff at Marshall University where he focused on team training, goalkeepers and recruiting. DeSouza is back with head coach Burns for his 10th season and will continue to help the Wolverines with the management of team training and fitness.

Rank and File
Michigan earned a No. 22 preseason ranking by the National Soccer Coaches of American (NSCAA) and a No. 24 ranking in TopDrawerSoccer's preseason edition of the 2009 men's tournament 48 ranking. The Tournament 64 rankings are a running attempt to project the postseason college soccer tournament qualifiers, including every automatic conference berth.

Contact: Jessica Poole (734) 763-4423

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