First Touch #6: U-M Preps for Road Tests at Minnesota, Wisconsin
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MGOBLUE

Sept. 19, 2012

THIS WEEK
Friday, Sept. 21 -- at Minnesota (Minneapolis, Minn.), 7 p.m. CDT
Live Stats | Live Video (fee)
Sunday, Sept. 23 -- at No. 14 Wisconsin (Madison, Wis.), 1 p.m. CDT
Live Stats | Live Video (fee)

The University of Michigan women's soccer team (7-2-0, 1-0-0 Big Ten) rides a three-match winning streak into its first Big Ten road trip this weekend, which starts with a match with Minnesota (5-4-0, 0-1-0) on Friday (Sept. 21) at 7 p.m. CDT at Elizabeth Lyle Robbie Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn., and concludes with No. 14 Wisconsin (6-2-0, 0-1-0) on Sunday (Sept. 23) at 1 p.m. CDT at McClimon Track/Soccer Complex in Madison, Wis.

The Big Ten Network will stream both matches online (for a fee) and can be watched through the MGoBlue.com All-Access Player.

-- MATCH NOTES --

Honors All Around ... Juniors Nkem Ezurike and Shelina Zadorsky were named Big Ten Offensive and Defense Player of the Week, respectively, on Monday (Sept. 17). Additionally, Ezurike was also named Big Ten Player of the Week by CollegeSportsMadness.com. Ezurike and Zadorsky provided the scoring in Michigan's 3-0 victory over Indiana last Saturday (Sept. 15), with Ezurike scoring two first-half goals and Zadorsky adding a third in the second half. Zadorsky also powered a Michigan defense that faced just three shots all match. [ Release | CollegeSportsMadness.com ]

Senior CLASS Award ... On Tuesday (Sept. 18), fifth-year senior Clare Stachel was announced as one of 30 finalists for the 2012 Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence -- community, classroom, character and competition. Stachel has played in only two matches this season due to injury but is a reigning All-Big Ten selection and two-time Academic All-Big Ten selection. She is also the second three-time captain in program history.

Defense, Defense, Defense ... Through the first nine matches of the season, Michigan's defense is atop the conference in goals-against average (0.44) and tied for first in fewest goals allowed (four), and shutouts (six). The Wolverines have a scoreless streak of 270:00 that spans across the last three matches. Against Indiana, the Michigan defense allowed just three shots, making it the lowest number of shots yielded to an opponent all season and lowest total since Sept. 19, 2010, when Michigan gave up two shots to Youngstown State.

Guarding the Net ... Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer ranks among the Big Ten's best goalkeepers in numerous categories, including shutouts (first), goals-against average (second), save percentage (second) and saves (third). She became the school's all-time saves leader on Sept. 2 against Long Beach State (329 career saves).

Turning Point ... Since its 2-1 loss to then-No. 11 Long Beach State back on Sept. 2, U-M has won three straight matches (all shutouts), outscored its opponents by a 7-0 margin and holds a 45-16 edge in shots.

Balanced Attack ... Eleven different players have scored at least one goal and 10 different players have recorded at least one assist. Additionally, 18 different players have started at least one match this season. [ 2012 Statistics ]

Full Strength ... Fifth-year senior Clare Stachel and freshman Christina Ordonez each returned to the lineup against Indiana last Saturday (Sept. 15). Stachel earned the start, while Ordonez came off the bench. Both players have battled injuries this season, with Stachel missing seven matches, and Ordonez missing five.

Close Contests ... Michigan is 4-2-0 this season in matches decided by one goal. The Wolverines were 5-5-1 in one-goal matches last season.

Home Comfort ... The Wolverines own an unblemished 6-0-0 record at the U-M Soccer Stadium this season, outscoring opponents by a 15-1 margin. The last time Michigan won its first six home matches to start a season was 2002.

The Last Meeting
Minnesota3
Michigan2
September 23, 2011
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Michigan Suffers Defeat to Minnesota on Goal in Final Minute
U-M held a one-goal halftime lead thanks to tallies from Nkem Ezurike and Clare Stachel, but Minnesota rallied for two scores in the second half, including the winner with 58 seconds remaining, in a 3-2 final.

The Last Meeting
Wisconsin0  
Michigan0(2OT)
September 25, 2011
Ann Arbor, Mich.
Michigan Plays Wisconsin to Scoreless Draw
The Wolverines closed out their weekend homestand with a scoreless draw against Wisconsin. Haley Kopmeyer made seven more saves for her fifth shutout of the season.

Old Stompin' Grounds ... Head coach Greg Ryan and associate head coach Dean Duerst were both head coaches at Wisconsin; Ryan from 1986-1993 and Duerst from 1994-2006. Ryan went 108-32-7 (.734) and Duerst went 151-105-31 (.580). Ryan and Duerst, a Madison, Wis., native are the two winningest head coaches in the history of the Wisconsin women's soccer program. In fact, Duerst won the 2005 Big Ten Tournament title in Ann Arbor as head coach of UW.

Previewing Minnesota ... Minnesota is 5-4-0 this season and is coming off a 2-1 overtime road loss to Ohio State last Sunday (Sept. 16) in its conference opener. Three of the Golden Gophers' four losses have been in overtime. Minnesota is led by sophomore Taylor Uhl, last year's Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Uhl leads the Big Ten in both goals (11) and points (27).

The last two meetings between Michigan and Minnesota have been decided in the match's final minute. In 2010, Michigan went to Minneapolis and knocked off then-No. 23 Minnesota, 1-0, in double overtime, when Nkem Ezurike scored a goal with 27 seconds left in the match. The Golden Gophers came from behind to win last season's matchup, 3-2, in Ann Arbor, on two Taylor Uhl goals, including the game-winner with 58 seconds left.

Michigan is 6-11-2 all-time against Minnesota, including a 2-5-1 mark in Minneapolis and a 3-4-2 record in its last nine matches. The last nine contests between the two teams have been decided by one goal or been a draw.

Previewing Wisconsin ... Wisconsin is 6-2-0 this season and is ranked No. 14 in this week's NSCAA/Continental Tire College Rankings. The Badgers' two losses this season have come to then-No. 1 UCLA on Aug. 31 (L, 2-0) and No. 11 Penn State on Sept. 16 (L, 2-1, OT). Wisconsin has six players that have scored multiple goals this season, led by redshirt junior Paige Adams with four goals.

Michigan is 8-12-4 all-time against Wisconsin. The Wolverines are 0-2-2 in their last four meetings against the Badgers, with their last win coming on Oct. 21, 2007, in Ann Arbor. U-M's last win in Madison was Nov. 7, 2003, a 1-0 victory in the semifinals of the Big Ten Tournament. 

Week in Review ... Nkem Ezurike scored two first-half goals and Shelina Zadorsky added a third in the second half, as Michigan defeated Indiana, 3-0, last Saturday (Sept. 15), in what was the Big Ten Conference opener for both teams. The Wolverines' defense shut down the Hoosiers' attack, limiting them to just three shots all match. [ Indiana: Recap | Highlights | Photo Gallery | Michigan Daily ]

-- TEAM NOTES --

Non-Conference Success ... Michigan's regular-season non-conference record over the last three season stands at 16-5-3, with the Wolverines winning at least five non-conference matches in each of those seasons. The last time Michigan won at least six non-conference regular season matches was 2002.

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 ]

"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 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, Sept. 28 -- vs. Iowa (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7 p.m.
Sunday, Sept. 30 -- vs. Nebraska (U-M Soccer Stadium), 2 p.m.

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423


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