Nov. 16, 2013
Michigan Head Coach Greg Ryan
Opening statement ... "First of all, we got off to a fantastic start. Some of our attacking play tonight, we were so fast in the counter and so quick with Madisson Lewis and Nkem [Ezurike], Meghan Toohey and Corinne [Harris] there at the end. If you look at the shots, it's not far different, but in terms of quality chances, we created chances that were difficult to miss. Ones right in front of the goal. I was really pleased with our attacking players tonight. To me, the biggest difference between tonight and what I've seen more of the season is the performances from our younger players. Our veterans have been solid all year, but the younger players were great. Madisson Lewis was a huge difference-maker tonight. Christina Ordonez played big minutes. Corinne Harris was fantastic every time she was out there tonight. Nicky Waldeck went up top and played some. And Anna Soccorsi got in behind and created a chance there in the first half. Knowing you have such a veteran team and now seeing these young players add to it, it's exciting going forward. They don't feel like freshmen or sophomores anymore. They feel like they are ready to make an impact in this NCAA Tournament."
On the chemistry between Ezurike and Lewis ... "It's a match made in heaven. Madi is faster than a rocket ship and can run past defenders at will. And then you have Nkem who loves to sit in front of the net and knock them in. It's a fantastic pairing. It doesn't always have to be Nkem, though. [Meghan] Toohey scored a great goal tonight. Corinne [Harris] chipped in. That's so important. Teams are going to focus on Nkem. You have to be able to get goals from other players."
On the long layoff between the Big Ten Tournament and tonight's first-round match ... "It gave us a chance to rest. It was the first one we had all year. We had three recovery days there at the start. That was so important. Teams that often win the Big Ten Tournament don't particularly do well because it's three games in five days. This rest gave us a chance to build our team the way we wanted to in order to prepare for this first match. The team trained tremendously hard those next few days, then we gave them another recovery and had two solid days of training leading up to tonight. You could see off the bat that they were ready to get after it."
On what the team worked on during that time ... "We did a lot of straight match-up, man-to-man work with players all over you. In the NCAA Tournament, people go very, very hard and you have to be able to turn away from pressure. There were great instances of that tonight. Madi got balls under pressure, turned away and was able to find the next player. Nkem and [Meghan] Toohey did a great job controlling the ball in a very tight midfield. Every second matters. We played a lot of games to one goal to help our players with their finishing. It's the first goal that can break a team's back."
On balancing defending and attempting to extend the lead ... "We felt like throughout the night, you always had to push for that next goal. I don't think we stopped after our first one. I think we gave up more chances than we should have tonight at the back. We turned the ball over in dangerous areas that could have hurt us, but that's an easy fix for us. That's a discussion. I think in the NCAA Tournament, you don't play for ties. You have to go after teams and win and I felt like we did that tonight. Even that late goal from Corinne, the team is still fighting to get goals."
U-M Fifth-Year Senior Holly Hein
On bouncing back from the team's last loss 10 days ago ... "Our team philosophy all year has been to be relentless. That loss to Iowa, we weren't happy about it. Greg talked to us about it and we got back to work. We weren't satisfied with what happened there. We wanted to come out hard tonight against Milwaukee and I think we did. I think it shows in our performances. We scored in the first five minutes and kept going at them."
On the importance of scoring first ... "Getting on the board first always helps, but like I said, our philosophy is always to be relentless, so we just had to keep going at them. It obviously helps a lot when you score first. Defensively, it makes you a little more comfortable. We had some beautiful goals tonight. Credit to our front runners."
On the team's defensive game plan for Milwaukee ... "Going into this game, we were going to sit off their forwards. We wanted to keep possession. It's hard to put balls over the top every now and then. It's nice that Shelina and I were able to possess, find Kayla and find Chloe to ge the ball to a forward or wing player."
U-M Senior Nkem Ezurike
On starting fast ... "From the start of the game, we just wanted to get forward and get after them in the first couple of minutes of the game, to get in behind the defense. It's just motivation, the will to get at the defense and get in behind them. That's sort of how that first goal happened."
On if playing Milwaukee already gave them an edge ... "We know them a little bit better than if we hadn't played them before. They made some changes in their lineup but they played the same way for the most part. We were able to exploit that."
On if Milwaukee's near goal in the first half was a wake-up call ... "It was important. It shows how quickly things can turn. We wanted to get another goal. It's just another security. It makes it easier on the defense to get more and more goals and that's what we strive for as attacking players."
On Madisson Lewis ... "She can really beat any defender with her speed. She gets in behind the defense and is able to play great balls into the box. She played really well today."