First Touch #1: U-M to Kick Off 2012 with Two-Match Homestand
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MGOBLUE

Aug. 14, 2012

THIS WEEK
Friday, Aug. 17 -- vs. Fordham (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7 p.m.
BUY TICKETS | Live Stats | Promotions: $1 General Admission Tickets
Sunday, Aug. 19 -- vs. Pittsburgh (U-M Soccer Stadium), 2 p.m.
BUY TICKETS | Live Stats | $1 General Admission Tickets/Postgame autographs

The University of Michigan women's soccer team (0-0) opens its 19th varsity season and the 2012-13 athletic calendar this weekend, hosting Fordham on Friday (Aug. 17) at 7 p.m. and Pittsburgh on Sunday (Aug. 19) at 2 p.m. Both matches will take place at the U-M Soccer Stadium.

General admission tickets for both matches this weekend will be sold for just $1. Fans can purchase tickets online at MGoBlue.com/tickets and at the entrance to the U-M Soccer Stadium.

-- MATCH NOTES --

Exhibition Recap ... In its only exhibition contest of the preseason, Michigan trounced Cleveland State, 5-0, on Aug. 7, out-shooting the Vikings by a 29-3 margin. Freshman Corinne Harris scored twice, while fifth-year senior Clare Stachel and juniors Tori McCombs and Meghan Toohey recorded one goal each. [ Recap ]

Country First ... Michigan will play the early portion of the non-conference slate without three of its starters. Juniors Nkem Ezurike and Shelina Zadorsky, along with sophomore Christina Murillo, are in Japan to play with their respective countries at the FIFA U-20 Women's World Cup, which begins Sunday (Aug. 19) and runs through Sept. 8. Ezurike and Zadorsky will play for Canada -- with Zadorsky serving as co-captain) -- while Murillo will play for Mexico. [ Release ]

Preseason Poll ... The Big Ten released its preseason coaches' poll and Players to Watch list on Tuesday (Aug. 14). Michigan was picked to finish fifth behind Penn State, Illinois, Ohio State and Wisconsin, respectively, while Nkem Ezurike, Haley Kopmeyer and Clare Stachel were each named Preseason Players to Watch.

Ezurike, Stachel Get Noticed ... Nkem Ezurike and Clare Stachel were named to the CollegeSportsMadness.com Preseason All-Conference team. Ezurike was named to the first team as a forward, while Stachel was named to the second team as a midfielder. [ Release ]

Kopmeyer Climbing the Ladder ... Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer enters the season as the program record holder for saves per game (5.40) and save percentage (.827), second in goals-against average (1.12), third in saves (297), tied for third in shutouts (16), and fifth in wins (23).

-- TEAM NOTES --

2011 Recap ... The Wolverines finished the 2011 season with a 9-8-2 record (4-6-1 Big Ten) -- its second straight winning season -- but missed out on the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments. Michigan finished tied for eighth in the Big Ten. Nkem Ezurike, Christina Murillo and Clare Stachel each earned All-Big Ten honors.

Who's Back? ... Michigan will once again field a youthful team, with 18 of the 29 players on the roster listed as freshmen or sophomores. In addition, 13 of the 29 players on the roster started at least one match last season, including nine full-time starters. [ 2011 Statistics ]

Finally Healthy ... In 2011, the Wolverines lost eight different players to season-ending injuries or illness but enter the 2012 season with a healthy squad. Three of those eight were starters, including Meghan Toohey, the speedy midfielder who missed the final seven matches after suffering an ankle injury against Iowa (Sept. 28, 2011); Emily Jaffe, a walk-on who joined the team in mid-September and started seven Big Ten matches before missing the final three due to an appendectomy; and Holly Hein, who took a redshirt after playing only six matches due to treatment for thyroid cancer.

"Fresh" Faces ... Eight new freshmen dot the roster this season, with several players from the class expected to play significant roles this season. They include goalkeeper Maddie Clarfield, defender Sydney Raguse, midfielders Hailey Fisher, Christina Ordonez, Lulu Haidar and Cassie Collins, and forwards Corinne Harris and Lisha Murphy.

Yellow Armband ... Clare Stachel, Haley Kopmeyer and Holly Hein have been chosen as team captains for the 2012 season. Stachel is only the second three-time team captain in program history, joining Debbie Flaherty (1994-97), who captained the team from 1995-97. Kopmeyer wears the armband for the second straight season, while Hein is in her first.

Welcome Back ... The team's new volunteer assistant coach this season is former Wolverine Sarah Stanczyk, who played for the Wolverines in the 2009 and 2010 seasons. Stanczyk, a native of nearby Grosse Pointe, Mich., played in 37 matches (35 starts) during her two years in Ann Arbor, and will begin study toward a master's degree in exercise physiology/sports psychology this fall at Eastern Michigan. She replaces Nate Boyden, who recently took a full-time assistant coaching position with the Bradley University men's soccer team.

Lights, Camera, Action ... The Wolverines' road match against Ohio State on Thursday, Oct. 18, will be televised live by the Big Ten Network. The match will begin at 8 p.m. in Columbus, Ohio.

UP NEXT
Friday, Aug. 24 -- vs. Cal State Fullerton (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7 p.m.
Sunday, Aug. 26 -- vs. Detroit (U-M Soccer Stadium), 5 p.m.

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423


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