First Touch #1: U-M to Open 20th Varsity Season with Home Slate
Holly Hein

Aug 19, 2013

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Friday, Aug. 23
-- vs. UW-Milwaukee (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7:30 p.m.
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Sunday, Aug. 25 -- vs. Oakland (U-M Soccer Stadium), 2 p.m.
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A season removed from a Sweet 16 run in 2012, the No. 19-ranked University of Michigan women's soccer team (0-0) aims even higher as it begins its 20th season of varsity soccer this week against a pair of Horizon League teams that made the NCAA Tournament last season. The Wolverines face UW-Milwaukee on Friday (Aug. 23) at 7:30 p.m. and in-state foe Oakland on Sunday (Aug. 25) at 2 p.m., with both matches being played at the U-M Soccer Stadium.

Single-game and season tickets are available for purchase through the Michigan Athletics Ticket Office. To purchase, please call (866) 296-MTIX or visit


• Michigan went 16-5-3 (7-2-2 Big Ten) last season, finished third in the Big Ten and reached the third round of the NCAA Championships. Ten players that started at least 10 matches last season return, including seniors Nkem Ezurike (20 GP/19 GS): 15 G, 3 A), Holly Hein (24 GP/24 GS: 2 G), Kayla Mannino (23 GP/19 GS: 3 A), Tori McCombs (24 GP/11 GS: 2 G, 4 A), Meghan Toohey (24 GP/24 GS: 3 G, 6 A) and Shelina Zadorsky (20 GP/19 GS: 1 G, 3 A), juniors Christina Murillo (19 GP/18 GS: 1 G, 2 A) and Chloe Sosenko (24 GP/23 GS: 1 G, 3 A), and sophomores and Cassie Collins (24 GP/15 GS: 1 A) and Corinne Harris (23 GP/19 GS: 3 G, 5 A). The Wolverines return 85 percent of their scoring from a year ago (36 goals) but must find a new goalkeeper following the graduation of Haley Kopmeyer (2008-12).

The Wolverines have three goalkeepers on the roster: junior Zaryn Jennings, sophomore Maddie Clarfield and freshman Taylor Bucklin. Bucklin started both of Michigan's exhibition contests, while Jennings and Clarfield saw minutes against Western Michigan and Dayton, respectively. The starter has big shoes to fill in replacing Kopmeyer, who was an NSCAA All-American last season and four-year starter. She graduated as the program's leader in goals-against average, shutouts, saves, saves-per-game, save percentage and minutes played.

• Senior forward Nkem Ezurike enters the 2013 season needing 10 goals to become the program's all-time scoring leader. She is currently fourth on the list with 35 career goals. Kacy Beitel (1997-00) is atop the list with 44 goals. Ezurike's goal output has increased each season, going from nine goals in 2010 to 11 in 2011 and 15 in 2012. She is also tied for fourth on the school's list for career points (80). Abby Crumpton (1999-02) is the program leader with 116.

• Michigan won a pair of exhibitions at U-M Soccer Stadium last week, beating Western Michigan, 5-0, last Tuesday (Aug. 13) and downing Dayton, 4-1, last Friday (Aug. 16). Nkem Ezurike and Corinne Harris recorded hat tricks in those respective contests. [ Recaps: Western Michigan | Dayton ]

• The Wolverines enter the season ranked No. 19 in the NSCAA College Preseason Poll, released last Tuesday (Aug. 13). The Wolverines are one of three ranked teams from the Big Ten Conference, behind Penn State (No. 4) and ahead of Ohio State (No. 23). [ Release ]

• The Big Ten released its annual preseason coaches' poll last Wednesday (Aug. 14), and Michigan was picked to finish second. Additionally, Nkem Ezurike, Corinne Harris and Meghan Toohey were named to the Players to Watch list.
[ Release ]

• The Wolverines welcome in an eight-member freshman class this season: goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin (Greenwich, Conn.), defender Bailey Haydock (Tulsa, Okla.), midfielder Jessica Heifetz (Warren, N.J.), defender Melissa Kreutz (Northridge, Calif.), forward Madisson Lewis (Canton, Mich.), defender Lindy Porritt (San Diego, Calif.), defender Anna Soccorsi (Yardley, Pa.) and midfielder/forward Nicky Waldeck (Chicago, Ill.). They also added defender Olivia Brannon (Troy, Mich.) to the roster in the spring after she transferred from the University of Virginia. [ Roster ]

• The Wolverines will be on the Big Ten Network three times this season: Sunday, Sept. 22, at Iowa (noon CDT); Sunday, Sept. 29, vs. Minnesota (1 p.m.); and Thursday, Oct. 3, at Michigan State (3 p.m.). The Big Ten Network will also televise the semifinals and championship match of the Big Ten Tournament, to be held Nov. 8 and Nov. 10, respectively, in Champaign, Ill.

• In the five-year tenure of head coach Greg Ryan, Michigan is 23-14-5 against non-conference opponents in the regular season and is 27-12-10 at the U-M Soccer Stadium. Over the last three years, the Wolverines are 15-5-3 against non-conference foes and 20-7-5 at the home (including 10-1-1 last season). Six of their seven non-conference matches this season will be held inside the U-M Soccer Stadium. Additionally, Michigan is 9-7-3 all-time in home openers.

• Michigan faces eight teams this season that made last year's NCAA Championships: Penn State (Oct. 13), Ohio State (Nov. 2), Illinois (Oct. 25), Wisconsin (Sept. 27), UW-Milwaukee (Friday), Oakland (Sunday), San Diego State (Sept. 1) and Pepperdine (Sept. 6).

UW-Milwaukee enters the 2013 season looking to make the NCAA Championships for the sixth consecutive year. The Panthers went 8-9-1 last season and were eliminated in the first round of the NCAA Championships in a 3-1 loss to Notre Dame. They were picked to finish third in the Horizon League this season but return seven starters, including returning All-Horizon League picks Krissy Dorre, Kelly Lewers, Kelsey Holbert and Amy Kauffung. UW-Milwaukee played one exhibition match in the preseason, dropping a 4-1 road decision to Iowa. They are coached by Greg Henschel, who is in his second season.

Series vs. UWM: Michigan is an even 1-1-1 vs. UW-Milwaukee. The two teams last met on Aug. 28, 2009, which the Panthers won, 6-0.

Oakland comes off an 11-6-4 season in 2012, which included a second-round appearance in the NCAA Championships. The Grizzlies sprung an upset of Ohio State in the first round of last year's tournament, advancing on penalty kicks. Oakland returns seven starters, including NSCAA All-Great Lakes Region pick Kyla Kellerman, who led the team with nine goals last season. The Grizzlies played one exhibition match during the preseason, falling to Kent State, 1-0. Dave Morgan is the interim head coach for Oakland.

Series vs. OAK: Michigan is 11-3-2 against Oakland. The Wolverines are 5-0-1 in their last six meetings, including a 1-0 road victory last season in Rochester.

Friday, Aug. 30
-- vs. Eastern Michigan (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 1 -- vs. San Diego State (U-M Soccer Stadium), 2 p.m.

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423

»  Learn about Michigan women's soccer and group ticket opportunities for the 2016 season.