First Touch #10: U-M Closes Regular Season with TV Game at OSU

Nov. 2, 2009

Saturday, Nov. 7, 6 p.m. -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio) -- TV: Big Ten Network
Live Stats

The University of Michigan men's soccer team (10-5-1, 2-3-0 Big Ten) closes out the 2009 regular season with a televised match against Big Ten foe Ohio State on Saturday (Nov. 7). Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. at Ohio State's Jesse Owen Memorial Stadium. The contest will air live on the Big Ten Network. U-M is looking for its second consecutive league victory and its second consecutive win in a televised contest.

The Wolverines have a 2-3-0 record in league action after defeating No. 12 Northwestern on Sunday (Nov. 1) and will be playing in their second straight televised contest. U-M has also played Indiana and Northwestern in televised games this season. The Wolverines are 1-5-1 all-time in televised contests.

Ohio State -- Ohio State leads, 6-5-1

Thu-Sun., Nov. 12-15 -- at Big Ten Tournament (Bloomington, Ind.)

Complete Stats: Through 11/1/09

2009 Leaders

Justin Meram157620
Mauro Fuzetti148319
Hamoody Saad155515

Chris Blais16-1610-5-11.20.750

Matt Schmitt (Muskegon, Mich./Reeths-Puffer)
Senior/junior forward Matt Schmitt (Muskegon, Mich./Reeths-Puffer) has only played in eight games this season due to injury, but he has made his presence felt in Michigan's last two games. Schmitt has scored both of U-M's goals in their last two games, including the game-winning goal in the 102nd minute in U-M's upset victory over No. 12 Northwestern on Sunday (Nov. 1). The goal against Northwestern was Schmitt's sixth career goal and his first career game-winner. He also scored U-M's lone goal against Michigan State (Oct. 25) in the annual battle for the Big Bear Trophy. Schmitt played a big role in U-M's offense last season and led the team with seven assists.

Wolverines Look To Close Out 2009 Regular Season in Style against Rival Ohio State
The Wolverines, who picked up their first win in two games and their first Big Ten victory since a 3-0 defeat of Wisconsin Oct. 10 with an overtime triumph against No. 12 Northwestern on Sunday (Nov.1), are looking for their 11th overall win of the season and their third league victory this Saturday. Michigan, which enters Saturday's game with a 2-3 league record, is also looking for back-to-back league victories for the first time this season. U-M is hoping to reach the .500 mark in league action with a victory on Saturday and also defeat rival Ohio State for the second consecutive season.

TV Time
Michigan and Ohio State will battle on the soccer field for the 13th time on Saturday and will meet in a televised contest for the second time. The last time the Buckeyes and Wolverines played in front of a nation audience was during the 2007 season, a 1-0 Ohio State victory in Columbus, Ohio. Michigan, which has a 1-5-1 all-time record in televised contests, picked up its first-ever win on the Big Ten Network in dramatic fashion with a 1-0 double overtime win over No. 12 Northwestern (Nov. 1) in its last outing.

U-M Picks Up First OT Victory of Season vs. Northwestern
The Wolverines played their second overtime contest of 2009 against Northwestern on Sunday (Nov.1) and picked up their first overtime win of the season. U-M owns a 13-8-18 record in overtime contests.

Michigan Offense Not Scoring As Much But Seems To Be Back on Track
Michigan's offense this season has been quite prolific, outscoring opponents 31-20 and 21-12 in the second half although prior to Sunday's win over Northwestern U-M's offense had been stalled. The Wolverines fell to No. 1 Akron on Oct. 20 by a score of 5-1 and followed that up with a 2-1 loss to Michigan State on Oct. 25. U-M's offensive trio of senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford), junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College) and freshman Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich./Dearborn) has been held to only two goals between the three of them in the last five games. The trio accounts for nearly 70 percent of the U-M offense this season.

Schmitt Making His Presence Felt
Although U-M's regular offensive tandem has not been scoring as much or as often in the latter half of the season, U-M senior/junior forward Matt Schmitt (Muskegon, Mich./Reeths-Puffer) has put his own offensive stamp on things. Schmitt, who has been sidelined for most of the season with a nagging injury, has seemed to be the "Schmitty" of old in Michigan's last two games. He scored U-M's lone goal in a 2-1 loss to Michigan State (Oct. 25) and picked up his first career game-winning goal in a double-overtime upset victory over No. 12 Northwestern on Sunday (Nov. 1). Last season, Schmitt led the Wolverines in assists with seven helpers.

Blais and Schmitt Sweep Big Ten Weekly Awards
For only the third time in program history, the Wolverines swept the Big Ten Weekly honors. Senior/junior forward Matt Schmitt (Muskegon, Mich./Reeths-Puffer) earned his first Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week honor, while junior/sophomore goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash./Kennedy Memorial) earned his second Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week honor for powering the Wolverines to a 1-0 double-overtime upset victory over No. 12 Northwestern on Sunday (Nov. 1). Schmitt scored the gamewinner in the 102nd minute, while Blais kept the Wildcats off the board behind four saves.

Ranked Opponents -- No Problem!
Michigan knocked off its second ranked opponent of the season with its 1-0 double-overtime victory over No. 12 Northwestern on Sunday (Nov.1). The Wolverines, who have played five ranked opponents this season, also defeated No. 21 Drake on Sept. 3. Michigan has a 10-23-2 all-time record against ranked foes.

Record vs. Teams from the Buckeye State
The Wolverines are taking on their fifth opponent from the neighboring Buckeye state this weekend when they square off against rival Ohio State. U-M has a 17-15-2 record against teams from Ohio and this season has defeated Wright State, Bowling Green and Cincinnati and dropped a match to top-ranked Akron.

Michigan vs. Ohio State -- The Rivalry!
Most folks know all about the Michigan-Ohio State rivalry on the gridiron, but it also extends to the soccer pitch. In the 12 times the Wolverines and Buckeyes have met previously, nine games have been decided by one goal, including four of the last five meetings. There have only been two games in the series that have been decided by more than one goal -- during the 2004 season, a 2-0 Ohio State win, and a 3-0 Ohio State victory during the 2000 season, U-M's first season as a varsity program. Additionally, there has only been one tie between the teams, a 0-0 result during the 2006 season, and the teams have gone into overtime on four occasions. Saturday's game also marks the sixth time U-M has closed out the regular season against the Buckeyes.

U-M Earns Double-Digit Victories for Third Consecutive Season
The Wolverines picked up their 10th win of the season with their win over Northwestern on Sunday (Nov. 1). The victory marked the third consecutive season the Wolverines have picked up double-digit victories and the seventh time in program history. Michigan also posted double-digit victories in four consecutive seasons from 2001-2004.

Fuzetti and Meram on Fire
Senior forward Mauro Fuzetti (Houston, Texas/Stratford) has been a crucial piece to the U-M offense this season. Fuzetti, is second on the team with eight goals and 19 points. In fact, Fuzetti has accounted for 30 percent of U-M's offense this season. Junior Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich./Yavapai College) leads the team in points with seven goals and six assists for 20 points.

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 have been in a 5-1 win at Western Michigan (Sept. 19), a 2-0 win at Cincinnati (Oct. 14) and a 1-0 double overtime win against Northwestern (Nov. 1) and Michigan's losses games to Notre Dame (Sept. 1), Penn State (Sept. 27,) Indiana (Oct. 10) Akron (Oct. 20) and Michigan State (Oct. 25), as well as a 0-0 tie with Oakland (Sept. 30). Although an important piece of U-M's offense Fuzzeti hasn't scored a goal in U-M's last five games, a stretch in which the Wolverines have a 2-3 record.

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 175 shots and only needs one more shot to overtake former Wolverine Peri Marosevic (2006-08) as U-M's all-time leader in 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 (Sept. 22) for his two assists and a goal against Detroit (Sept. 16) and Western Michigan (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 (Sept. 1) and also posted back-to-back shutouts against Wright State (Sept. 11) and Lipscomb (Sept. 13) at the Michigan Invitational. He went 258:49 minutes 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 double overtime victory against Oakland (Sept. 30) and a 3-0 win over Wisconsin (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. He's also upholding Michigan's commitment to excellence in the classroom and was recently named to the CoSIDA presented by ESPN the Magazine Academic All-America All District First Team, which makes him eligible for Academic All-America honors.

U-M Men's Soccer Program and Head Coach Steve Burns Reaches Century Mark
The Wolverine men's soccer team not only sent off the 2009 senior class in style with a 1-0 double overtime upset victory over No. 12 Northwestern (Nov. 1), but also earned the 100th win in program history and gave U-M head coach Steve Burns his 100th career victory. U-M has a 100-77-19 all-time program record. Burns has the distinction of being the only head coach in U-M men's soccer history.

The Week That Was
The Wolverines ended their two-game skid in impressive fashion by dropping No. 12 Northwestern with a 1-0 double-overtime upset victory. The Wolverines and Wildcats played a fairly-evenly matched game throughout regulation. The Wolverines went into extra periods for the second time this season and senior/junior Matt Schmitt (Muskegon, Mich./Reeths-Puffer) picked up his second goal in as many games and his first-ever game-winning goal just 1:05 into the second "golden-goal" overtime period. The goal was Schmitt's sixth career goal. The win marked the second consecutive season the Wolverines have defeated a ranked Northwestern squad. Last season, U-M earned its first-ever win over a top 3 program with a 3-1 win over the Wildcats in Evanston, Ill.

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's ranked third in shots per game (3.80), points per game (1.27), goals (8) and goals per game (0.53). He is fourth in shots (57) and sixth in points (19). Junior forward Justin Meram (Shelby Township, Mich. /Yavapai College) is tied for third in the league in assists (6) and assists per game (0.38) and is fourth in point per game (1.25).He is fifth in points and in points with 20 points on the year and is sixth in shots (46) and shots per game (2.88). Freshman midfielder Hamoody Saad (Dearborn, Mich. /Dearborn) is tied for third in assists (6) and assists per game (0.38). Junior/sophomore goalkeeper Chris Blais (Seattle, Wash. /Kennedy Memorial) is fourth in the league in saves with 57 and is tied for third in shutouts with six. Blais is also sixth in saves percentage with .750 percentage and sixth in goals against average (1.20). He is also fifth in saves per game (3.56). As a team, U-M leads the league in points (96), goals (31), goals per game (1.94), assists (34) and assists per game (2.12) and is second in shots with 271.

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 is tops of a Big Ten player this season, while Mauro Fuzetti's (Houston, Texas/Stratford) 11 shots against Wright State (Sept. 11) is 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 (Sept. 19) and 16 points against Bowling Green (Sept. 23) are the top two team highs for a Big Ten season and the five goals U-M scored against Western Michigan (Sept. 19) and Bowling Green (Sept. 23) are among the top goals scored this season. U-M's eight assists against Western Michigan (Sept. 19) is also tops for a Big Ten team this season, while its 31 shots against Oakland (Sept. 30) is second best this season.

In The National Rankings This Week
The Wolverines are just outside the rankings in the latest NSCAA/adidas national poll released on Nov. 3. In the NSCAA/adidas Great Lakes region poll, U-M is also receiving votes. Last week, the Wolverines were just outside the rankings in the national poll and we're ranked No. 10 in the regional poll. Additionally, the Maize and Blue are ranked No. 22 in's tournament 48 poll.

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 Danny 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. [ Check out the Yearbook and Record Book ]

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. Burn's 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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