Nov. 7, 2011
The sixth-seeded University of Michigan men's soccer team (5-13-1, 1-5 Big Ten) will host the third-seeded Wisconsin Badgers (9-7-2, 4-2 Big Ten) Wednesday night (Nov. 9, 6:30 p.m.) in the opening round of the 2011 Big Ten Tournament at U-M Soccer Stadium. The winner of the tournament will earn the conference berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Michigan will look to recapture the magic of last season's Big Ten Tournament title. Last season in State College, Michigan opened the tournament with a 2-1 win over Michigan State and defeated Wednesday's opponent, Wisconsin, 1-0 in the semifinals. U-M then downed the host squad, Penn State, 4-1 in the final to capture the program's first Big Ten Tournament title and earn the automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament.
Scouting Wisconsin -- Michigan and Wisconsin will meet on the pitch for the 17th time in school history. Michigan leads the all-time series, 10-3-3. Earlier this season, the Badgers defeated Michigan, 2-1, in Ann Arbor, snapping U-M's seven-match unbeaten streak against the Badgers (4-0-3). U-M trailed 2-0 at the half but could only muster one score from Kofi Opare before 1,170 fans at U-M Soccer Stadium. Michigan outshot the Badgers 23-6 in the match and held a 16-1 shot advantage in the second stanza.
The Badgers are led offensively by Tomislav Zadro, who is tied for second in the Big Ten with 19 points. His six goals are tied for fifth in the conference, and he leads the conference in assists with seven. Additionally, he has taken 38 shots on the season, which rank eighth in the league. Chris Prince is second on the squad in goals with four and is tied for second on the team in points with nine, while Josh Thiermann and Joey Tennyson have three scores and three helpers apiece to sit tied at second.
Max Jentsch has been the man of choice for the Badgers in goal, as he is fourth in the conference in goals-against average with a 0.88 average as he has allowed 12 goals in 13 games. The sophomore is also fourth in the league with an 80-percent save mark and has 48 total saves and three clean sheets in conference play.
Against Wisconsin in Postseason Play -- Michigan and Wisconsin have squared off on four occasions in the Big Ten Tournament and U-M is 3-1 in those meetings, with two of the wins coming by a 1-0 score. Last season, U-M defeated the Badgers, 1-0, in the quarterfinals on a Soony Saad goal in the 78th minute and won in a shootout after a scoreless draw in regulation during the 2008 campaign in Madison. The 2006 season marked the first year U-M defeated Wisconsin in postseason play (1-0). Michigan suffered its lone defeat in the postseason version of the series, as the Badgers won 1-0 in the second year of existence for the Michigan program in 2001.
Michigan to Host 2011 Big Ten Tournament -- The men's soccer program will play host to the 2011 Big Ten Men's Soccer Tournament at the U-M Soccer Stadium. The tournament runs from Wednesday, Nov. 9, through Sunday, Nov. 13. The first round will be played Wednesday and the semifinals will be contested on Friday, Nov. 11. The championship game will be held on Sunday, Nov. 13. Michigan will be the No. 6 seed and play the 6:30 p.m. first-round game on Wednesday, Nov. 9, against No. 3 seed Wisconsin. [ Big Ten Tournament Central ]
Year-by-Year Look at Michigan in the Big Ten Tournament -- U-M is 8-10-1 all-time in Big Ten Tournament play, with two finals appearances (2002, L; 2010, W). U-M won first-round games in 2001 -- its first-ever conference tourney triumph -- 2002, 2004 and 2006. The other four victories came in the semifinal round of the 2002 campaign and three matches last season.
U-M Closes Out Regular Season as Big Ten Shot Leaders -- The Wolverines ended the regular season leading the Big Ten in shots with 300 in 19 games (15.79 per) contest, marking the second year in a row that U-M led the conference in shots at the end of the regular season. The Wolverines had 350 attempts on the year of last season's College Cup Final run.
Close Calls -- The 1-0 loss to Northwestern on Saturday (Nov. 5) marked the 11th time this season Michigan has dropped a match by one goal. Three have been of the 1-0 variety this year, while the first game of the season was a 2-0 defeat at Bowling Green.
Seniors Get the Nod on Senior Day -- In the 1-0 loss to Northwestern on Saturday (Nov. 5), the four Michigan seniors found themselves in the starting 11. Adam Shaw found himself in his customary holding midfield role, while Eric Leifland started on the back line. Additionally, Jarrett Kerr earned his first career start at center back, while goalkeeper Tim Bergsma also collected the first start of his Michigan career. Bergsma made five saves in the contest, which equaled his career total prior to the match.
U-M Drops Yet Another Close Match -- The Wolverines were defeated 1-0 by Michigan State on Sunday (Oct. 30). The defeat against the Spartan's also relinquished the Big Bear Trophy, given to the winner of the annual Michigan-Michigan State battle.
Oh Brother, Brother, Brother -- The Michigan State match also marked what was believed to be the first time in Big Ten history that two brothers played each other from opposite schools. Junior Latif Alashe squared off his brother, Fatai, who is a freshman midfielder for the Spartans. Although Fatai got the better of Latif in the final outcome, Latif had two shots to Fatai's one shot.
Alashe Propels U-M to Upset of No. 4 Akron -- Alashe gave U-M its signature victory of the year on Oct. 18 at U-M Soccer Stadium, sending the Wolverines past the No. 4 Zips in the first overtime after a feed from Noble Sullivan from 14 yards out. Alashe then chipped Akron goalkeeper David Meves to send U-M to the victory in a rematch of last season's College Cup semifinal match. The win snapped a four-game losing streak to the Zips, as the latest defeat came in 2007 by a 2-1 count.
Extra Sessions Become Familiar -- The extra-time match against Akron was the sixth of the season for U-M, which now holds a 2-3-1 mark in overtime, including a two-game win streak in such games. Noble Sullivan netted the extra-time winner against Oakland on Oct. 12, while Latif Alashe joined the fraternity with his game-winner against Akron.
Rickard Enters Goal Column Against Aztecs -- Freshman Matthew Rickard scored his first career goal in the 2-1 defeat at San Diego State (Oct. 23) on an assist from Fabio Villas Boas Pereira. Rickard earned the tally in the 78th minute of action off a Pereira free kick from 25 yards out, as he deflected the shot into the top right corner of the Aztec goal for U-M's lone score of the contest. The score comes after contributing two assists this season, coming on a Tyler Arnone goal against Indiana and Ezekiel Harris' game-winner at Penn State.
Arnone Scores Second Career Goal -- Freshman midfielder/forward Tyler Arnonescored the team's lone goal against Indiana, blistering a shot from 18 yards out to the lower left, giving U-M a 1-0 halftime lead. Arnone scored his only other goal of the season at Detroit. He has started all 19 games in the midfield for the Wolverines, registering 33 total shots and nine on net.
Opare Heads in a Pair of Goals -- Junior defender Kofi Opare tallied a pair of header goals in the past six games. Opare headed in a corner kick against Oakland and registered his first goal of the season against Wisconsin on Oct. 9. He headed a corner kick off the Badgers goalkeeper and in the goal. Opare assisted on Tyler Arnone's goal against Indiana and has five points on the season; all in the past three games. He has three career goals, with only previous tally coming as a freshman against Wright State (Sept. 11, 2009). Opare has nine shots on goal and 25 total shots this season.
Sullivan Scores First Career Goal -- Noble Sullivan scored the game-winning goal in double overtime against Oakland University. He tallied his first career goal in the 104th minute of play against the Grizzlies, pushing home the winner on a deflection. Sullivan has eight shots on goal and 14 total shots this season.
Alashe Pushes Consecutive Starts Streak Past 60 Games -- Latif Alashe heads into this week's action with the team's longest active streak of consecutive starts. Alashe has started a team-best 62 straight games, every contest in his three-year career. He contributed an assist on Sullivan's game-winning goal at Oakland, and has seven points on the season (2 goals, 3 assists). Alashe scored his first goal of the campaign against Notre Dame on Sept. 16 and his second against Akron on Oct. 18.
Harris Tallies Goals -- Ezekiel Harris is the team's third-leading scorer with seven points this season. In addition to his goals against PSU and OSU, Harris notched the tying goal against Georgetown on Sept. 11. He picked up his first assist of the season on David Yang's goal against Western Michigan on Oct. 5. Harris has tallied a point in three of his past six games played. Overall, he has 8 shots on goal and 14 total shots this season.
Pereira Tops Team in Points, Scoring -- Sophomore Fabio Villas Boas Pereira leads the Wolverines in points and goals this season. Pereira has 13 points on four goals with five assists. He has tallied one goal in Big Ten play, scoring on a left-footed shot from five yards out at Ohio State on Sept. 25. Pereira is tied for eighth in points and in goals, and is tied for ninth in assists. He has started 16 of the 19 games this season.
Pereira Paces Big Ten in Shots -- Fabio Villas Boas Pereira leads the Big Ten in shots, taking more than any other player in the conference this season. Pereira has 65 shots in 19 contests. He also is second in the league with an average of 3.42 shots per contest.
Grinwis Surpasses 50-Save Plateau -- Redshirt freshman goalkeeper Adam Grinwis has started between the posts in 17 of the 19 games for the Wolverines this season. Most recently, Grinwis missed the Northwestern match due to a red card in the Michigan State contest. He has 54 saves on the year, highlighted by a career-best eight stops at Penn State on Oct. 1 and against Marquette on Sept. 18. He is fifth in the Big Ten with 54 saves this season and carries a 1.72 goals-against average.
Lussiez Tied for Team Lead in Goals -- Sophomore Etienne Lussiez enters this week's action second on the team in points this season. Lussiez is tied for the team lead with four goals and has contributed one assist for nine points on the year. He tallied the team's first goal at No. 19 Penn State on Oct. 1 and scored a second-half hat trick at Detroit on Sept. 14. Lussiez assisted on the team's only goal at No. 16 Notre Dame on Sept. 16.
Youth Movement -- So far this season, 10 Wolverines have made their collegiate debuts: Tyler Arnone, Gabe Grinstein, Adam Grinwis, Alex Landschulz, Tyler Leppek, Nick Lewin, Etienne Lussiez, Matthew Rickard, Luca Schioppa and TJ VanSlooten.