Oct. 6, 2012
Site: Evanston, Ill. (Lakeside Field)
Score: #23 Michigan 2, Northwestern 0
Records: U-M (11-2-1, 5-0-1 Big Ten), Northwestern (4-8-2, 0-6-0 Big Ten)
Next U-M Event: Wednesday, Oct. 10 -- vs. Michigan State (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7 p.m.
EVANSTON, Ill. -- Junior Nkem Ezurike (Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia/Sackville) recorded her third multi-goal effort in the last six matches, scoring two goals to help the No. 23-ranked University of Michigan women's soccer team beat Northwestern, 2-0, on Saturday (Oct. 6) at Lakeside Field. The Wolverines tied two program records in the victory, including unbeaten streak (eight matches) and consecutive road wins (four).
The Wolverines pelted the Northwestern defense with six shots in the first 15 minutes of play, including three on goal, and finally broke through in the 18th minute on Ezurike's first goal. Junior Tori McCombs (Londonderry, N.H./Londonderry) headed the ball to Ezurike, who was one on one with a Northwestern defender on the left side. Her subsequent shot from about 15 yards out bent right under the crossbar, just over the outstretched arms of the Wildcats keeper.
Six minutes into the second half, Ezurike padded the Wolverines' lead with her second goal of the match. Freshman Cassie Collins (San Diego, Calif./Westview) started the play, passing to McCombs on the flank. McCombs then centered a pass to Ezurike, who buried a shot from just outside the six-yard box.
The Wolverine defense held Northwestern to just eight shots all night. Fifth-year senior Haley Kopmeyer (Troy, Mich./Lahser) made two saves in net for her eighth individual shutout of the season.
The Wolverines return to the U-M Soccer Stadium on Wednesday (Oct. 10), hosting in-state rival Michigan State for a 7 p.m. match. Tickets for the match are available through the U-M Athletics Ticket Office, either by calling (734) 764-0247 or at www.MGoBlue.com/tickets.
Scoring, Time (Assist)
1st -- U-M, Nkem Ezurike, 17:15 (Tori McCombs)
2nd -- U-M, Ezurike, 51:01 (Cassie Collins, McCombs)
Shots: U-M 15, NU 8
Shots on Goal: U-M 7, NU 2
Saves: U-M 2 (Haley Kopmeyer), NU 5 (Rachel Bergman)
Corner Kicks: U-M 4, NU 3
Cards: U-M, Christina Murillo, 51:12 (Yellow); NU, KK Barr, 59:46 (Yellow).
N O T E S
Michigan's win on Saturday is its first over Northwestern since 2005. Prior to Saturday, U-M was 0-2-4 in its last six matches vs. Northwestern. The Wolverines improve to 11-5-5 all-time against the Wildcats.
The win over Northwestern ties the program record for longest unbeaten streak. The record is eight matches, as Michigan went 7-0-1 from Sept. 3-26, 2004.
The win over Northwestern ties the program record for consecutive road wins. The record is four, set from Sept. 15-Oct. 1, 2000.
The Wolverines' last loss was Sept. 2 at Long Beach State. Since that loss, U-M has gone 7-0-1, outscoring opponents by a 15-1 margin.
The last time Michigan won at least 11 matches in a season was 2004 (11-9-2).
U-M has not allowed a goal in the first half all season. It has outscored opponents by a 10-0 margin in the first half this season.
Michigan has scored the first goal in all 11 wins this season (11-1-0 when scoring first).
Nkem Ezurike's two-goal performance gives her three multi-goal matches this season.
Cassie Collins recorded her first collegiate point with her assist on Nkem Ezurike's second goal.
Q U O T E S
Michigan Head Coach Greg Ryan
On the win over Northwestern ... "I thought the team played very well tonight. We had a few minutes towards the end where we lost a little concentration, but I am really pleased with our focus. We had a lot of great performances out there tonight. Nkem (Ezurike) had two goals, Tori (McCombs) had two assists, Cassie Collins cracked the crossbar and Haley (Kopmeyer) got another shutout. I thought our backline played well and organized in front or her, and provided tremendous leadership. We could have had another couple of goals, but two was enough tonight."
On the aggressive start to the match ... "We try to come out hard every time. We're so much better at the beginning of matches than we've ever been before. I think our shot totals were 8-1 in our favor at one point. The team came out with tremendous focus and determination to go to goal. Nkem getting that first one got us started. We had several chances that they saved or we just missed."
On if there was a little extra motivation after last year's loss to Northwestern ... "We sure talked about it a lot. We know we can't look past anyone. Northwestern might have been 0-5 in the Big Ten coming in, but they played teams close. I think our girls had a little extra determination because of what happened last year. We didn't bring out A game in that one, and to Northwestern's credit, they ended up getting the win. We gave them that opportunity last year, but tonight, we didn't allow them that opportunity."
On how the mindset changes with a short week coming up ... "I told the girls to enjoy this one tonight and not to think about anything else. We want to enjoy this performance. We'll take the bus home tomorrow, then have a short preparation for Michigan State. We're playing very well right now and in a good rhythm as a team. Even though it's a short week, I think we'll be as ready and as prepared as we can be."
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423