Sept. 30, 2011
Site: Iowa City, Iowa (Iowa Soccer Complex)
Score: Michigan 1, Iowa 0
Records: U-M (7-3-2, 2-1-1 Big Ten), Iowa (9-1-2, 1-1-2 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Sunday, Oct. 2 -- at Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.), 1 p.m. CDT
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Sophomore Nkem Ezurike's (Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia/Sackville) second-half goal was all the offense the University of Michigan women's soccer team needed Friday night (Sept. 30), as it handed Iowa its first loss of the season, 1-0, at the Iowa Soccer Complex. Senior/junior goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer (Troy, Mich./Lahser) made 10 saves in net for her sixth shutout of the season, helping Michigan to its first win in Iowa City since 2005.
Michigan's best scoring chance of the first half came in the 42nd minute. Sophomore Shelby Murphy (San Diego, Calif./Point Loma) sent a corner kick into the box, where senior Courtney Mercier (Erie, Pa./McDowell) got shot on net, but the attempt was saved by an Iowa defender hugging the post. The rebound came out to sophomore Shelina Zadorsky (London, Ontario/St. Thomas Aquinas), whose shot was blocked in close. The ricochet bounced out Ezurike, but her shot was also blocked, and subsequently cleared out, ending the Michigan scoring threat.
The Wolverines finally broke through the Iowa defense in the 53rd minute. Ezurike took advantage of an Iowa misplay, settled the ball, and fired a shot past Iowa goalkeeper Emily Moran into the back right corner of the net to give the Wolverines a 1-0 lead.
The Hawkeyes made one final push in the last minute of the match, sending a cross from right to left inside the box, but Kopmeyer dove to her right to get a piece of the ball. The ensuing corner kick was hit to the back post, but the Iowa header sailed over the net, preserving Michigan's victory.
The Wolverines' weekend road trip concludes on Sunday (Oct. 2), as Michigan takes on Nebraska in Lincoln. The game is scheduled to start at 1 p.m. CDT.
2nd -- U-M, Nkem Ezurike, 53:09 (unassisted)
Shots: U-M 20, Iowa 15
Shots on Goal: U-M 11, Iowa 10
Saves: U-M 10 (Haley Kopmeyer), Iowa 10 (Emily Moran)
Corner Kicks: U-M 6, Iowa 3
Cards: U-M, Nkem Ezurike, 58:07 (Yellow); U-M, Emily Jaffe, 74:33 (Yellow); U-M, Chloe Sosenko, 88:57 (Yellow); Iowa, Rachel Blakesley, 66:28 (Yellow).
N O T E S
• To honor teammate Holly Hein, who had surgery on Thursday (Sept. 29) to remove her thyroid gland, each member of the team wore a teal armband with Hein's No. 21 embroidered on it, and had the number and the thyroid cancer ribbon placed on their warm-up shirts. Hein was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in late July and will redshirt the remainder of the season after playing six games. Kristen Goncalves wore Hein's No. 21 jersey for the game.
• Iowa came into the match with an undefeated record (9-0-2). They were the first team outside the NSCAA Top 25 Coaches Poll to receive votes.
• Michigan improves to 13-2-1 all-time against Iowa. It was the Wolverines first win in Iowa City since Oct. 16, 2005 (W, 4-1).
• With her 10 saves on the night, Kopmeyer now moves into third on the school's all-time list for saves, passing Suzie Grech (2000-03). Her shutout against Iowa gives her six shutouts this season. She also had six shutouts as a sophomore in 2009.
• Sophomore midfielder Meghan Toohey left the game in the 14th minute due to an injury. Toohey was taken down on the edge of the box after a collision with Iowa keeper Emily Moran and did not return to the game. She was replaced by Chloe Sosenko.
• Michigan had 12 shots in the first half. The Wolverines had 11 in the entire game last Sunday against Wisconsin (Sept. 25).
• Michigan has won its last four matches by the same score (1-0). The last time Michigan scored more than one goal in a victory was back on Aug. 28 vs. DePaul (W, 3-1). The Wolverines are 4-2 in games decided by one goal (not including draws).
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Greg Ryan
On the win ... "Well, I'm certainly happy we won. I thought we played some good soccer tonight. We created some good chances and moved the ball better in terms of keeping possession. I'm very happy with improvement this team has made. We showed a lot of fight and grit tonight, which is what you need in the Big Ten."
On Haley Kopmeyer ... "Again, Haley was fantastic. In recent games, we've been outshot and outcornered. Tonight, I felt like we took the game to Iowa. Your goaltender is the one that is going to keep you in the game. Haley made two or three big-time saves tonight, plus seven others to really secure this win for us. The one save at the end of the game was fantastic. That was going into the side netting, but she managed to get a hand on it."
On the confidence-building win ... "I think this gives us a lot of confidence going forward. We're defending much better. This whole team has grown so much in recent weeks, we're very confident the way we're playing soccer right now. It doesn't get any easier on Sunday, going into a hostile environment at Nebraska. It's going to be very physical."
On Nkem Ezurike ... "When you have a great striker like Nkem, you're going to have a lot of scoring chances. She's certainly one who can turn shots into goals. That goal tonight was just a cracker of a shot. There wasn't a keeper out there that would have gotten that one."
U-M Senior/Junior Haley Kopmeyer
On the win ... "It was such an emotional game from our end. We we're playing for Holly, and we felt we really needed to go out there and get this win for her, and for our morale."
On the last scoring chance ... "I saw her wind up. My initial thought was that she going to cross it, but I was ready. She zinged it in there toward the back side, and I couldn't tell where it was going, so I decided to get up and go for it. I laid out and got a hand on it."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423