Week #13: U-M to Open NCAA Play at Home Thursday vs. Niagara

Nov. 14, 2012

Notes Packet (vs. Akron)

Thursday, Nov. 15
-- vs. Niagara - NCAA First Round (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7 p.m.

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The University of Michigan men's soccer team (10-9-1) begins its quest of returning to the NCAA College Cup as it takes to the U-M Soccer Stadium pitch on Thursday (Nov. 15) for a first-round NCAA Tournament matchup with the Niagara Purple Eagles (13-1-4) at 7 p.m. Michigan is 5-1 in its last six matches and is coming off a 2-1 overtime defeat in the 2012 Big Ten Tournament final against the Michigan State Spartans (Sunday, Nov. 11).

The NCAA postseason berth is the fifth in program history and second in the last three seasons, as the Wolverines advanced to the College Cup semifinals in 2010. Overall, U-M is 7-4 all-time in the tournament and owns a 7-3-1 record in home matches this season. Michigan is 3-0 all-time in first-round matchups of the tournament, all of which have been contested on U-M's home pitch.

Tickets are priced at $10 (reserved chairback), $7 (adult general admission), $5 (youth/senior general admission) and $5 (students/faculty/staff). Children five years old and younger will be allowed in for free. Tickets can be purchased through the Michigan Athletics Ticket Office by calling (734) 764-0247 or logging on to www.MGoBlue.com/tickets.

U-M enters the NCAA Tournament with a 10-9-1 mark after playing one of the most difficult schedules (six ranked opponents) in the country. U-M was the only team in the Big Ten to defeat every conference opponent and is 8-6-1 against programs ranked in the top 100 in the latest NCAA RPI.

U-M has never faced the Purple Eagles in program history. Niagara earned an automatic berth to the tournament after winning the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC). Overall, Niagara holds a 13-1-4 record this season.

With the berth to the national tournament, Niagara became the first Western New York team since Buffalo State ('70) to make it to the Division I NCAA Tournament. Senior Bryan Da Cruz lifted the team to a 1-0 overtime victory over top-seeded Loyola (Md.) Greyhounds in the MAAC Tournament Final on Nov. 10 to earn the program's first-ever MAAC title and first berth into the NCAA Tournament. With the win over Loyola, NU extended its winning streak to five games, with four of those victories coming in extra time, the longest win streak of the season for the Purps.


• In terms of strength of schedule, Michigan opponents have a combined 219-123-62 record, good for the No. 4 toughest schedule in the country. Niagara opponents are 143-167-34 and have played the 130th-most difficult slate in the land.

• With his 83rd career start against Michigan State, senior tri-captain Latif Alashe has now started the most matches in U-M history, after recently surpassing Ryan Sterba (2002-05) for the most starting nods in program history. Alashe has seen his name in the starting 11 every game during his four years in Ann Arbor. Additionally, he leads the Wolverines with the most matches played in program history and is 47 minutes played away from surpassing Chase Tennant (2005-06,09-10) for the most minutes played in program history.

• With Etienne Lussiez's goal against Northwestern (Nov. 9), 12 players have scored at least one goal for the Wolverines this season. Last season, a total of 11 players scored for the Wolverines. The program record for goal scorers in a season is 13, set in 2007.

• The loss to Michigan State snapped Adam Grinwis' three-match shutout streak. He has allowed six goals in the last nine matches, and he has registered six clean sheets on the season, tying him for second in program history with Patrick Sperry (2008) and Chris Blais (2009). He is two away from surpassing Sperry's eight clean sheets that were registered in 2007.

• The win over Northwestern (Nov. 9) marks the eighth time in program history that the Wolverines have won at least 10 matches in a season.

• Michigan is now 6-2 over its last eight matches and 6-4 in its last 10 matches.

• U-M has outscored opponents by a 26-23 margin this season and has outshot opponents 271-255. Thirteen of the 20 U-M matches have been won or lost by one score, and Michigan is 7-6 in those particular matches overall.

• Over the last 11 matches, Tyler Arnone has four goals and four assists for a team-best 11 points, while Adam Grinwis has allowed only eight goals over the last 10 matches to go along with five shutouts.

• Michigan has avenged a pair of road defeats this season. The Wolverines were defeated 2-0 by Northwestern on Sept. 21, only to defeat the Wildcats, 3-0, on Nov. 9 in the second round of the Big Ten Tournament. Additionally, U-M avenged a 2-1 loss to Wisconsin on Oct. 13 with a 1-0 defeat of the Badgers in the opening round of the conference tournament on Nov. 7.

• U-M is 7-3-1 at home this season, 1-5 in road matches and 2-1 in neutral site matchups. Additionally, U-M is 8-3-1 in the white kits this season.

Tyler Arnone leads the team in points with 15, as he has five goals and five assists. He is also second on the team in shots with 38, behind James Murphy (39). Fabio Pereira leads the team with eight assists, while T.J. Roehn has scored four goals, good for second on the team.

• Michigan has outscored opponents, 14-8, in the opening half, while opponents have outscored the Wolverines, 13-11, in the second half. Opponents have outscored U-M, 2-1, in overtime.

• Fabio Pereira leads the team with eight assists, which ranks him fourth all-time in program history in the single-season rankings.


Adam Grinwis
Ada, Mich.

Q: Even though you redshirted in 2010 during the last NCAA appearance, what do you take from that experience that can help you in this season's tournament?
"You need to take it one game at a time. Every team in the tournament is quality, so you can never look passed anyone. Every game is a do-or-die situation as well. You cannot take a game off, because it could be the last one of your season."

Q: Talk about the team's mentality heading into the tournament?
"We are hitting our stride at the right time, so we feel like we can come into the tournament and be successful. Everyone is excited at the opportunity to extend our season, but no one is complacent with just being here. We want to fully exhaust our potential."

Q: What does it mean to you to become only the second goalkeeper in U-M history to garner All-Big Ten honors?
"There have been some very talented goalies to come before me, so to receive Big Ten recognition is quite an honor. Our back line has really come together as the season has progressed, so my job has been much easier. The award is not just an award for me, but for the entire back line."

Q: What are you looking forward to the most the rest of this postseason?
I'm looking forward to playing as many more games with our seniors as possible. Our seniors have had some ups and downs in their careers here, but they have been some of the most solid players this program has ever seen. It's an honor and privilege to play with such talented and dedicated players."

Q: What is your favorite part about being a goalkeeper?
Just being able to see the whole field and help coach my players. I'm in a position where I'm forced to communicate with my teammates, but having a responsibility like that also forces me to stay engaged even when the other team doesn't have many shots."

Q: What is it like having a full-time goalkeeper coach this year in Jhojan Obando?
Having Jhojan on staff this year has been an incredible resource. He had such a successful college career, so having someone who knows and understands the position and the game really helps. He has a very good soccer IQ, which is an area of my game that needs the most improvement. With him as a coach, I've been able to grow in my game management and really mature as a goalkeeper."

In a matchup that featured high winds throughout, the Wolverines were defeated by the Michigan State Spartans, 2-1, in the Big Ten Tournament final on Sunday (Nov. 11) at Lakeside Field. Michigan fell behind in the first half, but a T.J. Roehn goal with 2:42 remaining sent the match into overtime.

However, a score by Spartan Sean Conerty at the 97:11 mark of the first overtime ended the match.

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