Sept. 24, 2013
Friday, Sept. 27 -- vs. No. 18 Wisconsin (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7 p.m.
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Sunday, Sept. 29 -- vs. Minnesota (U-M Soccer Stadium), 1 p.m.
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The No. 13-ranked University of Michigan women's soccer team (7-1-0, 1-0-0 Big Ten) returns to U-M Soccer Stadium this weekend for a two-match homestand, facing No. 18 Wisconsin (6-1-1, 1-0-0 Big Ten) on Friday (Sept. 27) and Minnesota (7-2-0, 0-1-0 Big Ten) on Sunday (Sept. 29). Friday's match will begin at 7 p.m. and will be streamed on MGoBlue.com via the Big Ten Digital Network (for a fee), while Sunday's match will be shown live at 1 p.m. on the Big Ten Network. Dan Kelly (analyst) and Danielle Slaton (play-by-play) will be on the call.
Among Big Ten teams, the Wolverines enter this weekend's play ranked second in goals allowed (five) and goals-against average (0.62), fifth in the conference in points (66) and sixth in goals (20). They boast the second-best scoring margin in the conference (+15), trailing only Indiana (+19). Individually, senior forward Nkem Ezurike is tied for third in the conference in points (18).
Michigan is ranked No. 13 in this week's NSCAA/Continental Tire rankings, released on Tuesday. The Wolverines are also ranked No. 16 in the first edition of the RPI, released on Monday. [ Rankings | RPI ]
Friday's match vs. Wisconsin will be Michigan's third match against a ranked opponent in 2013. The previous two were against then-No. 21 San Diego State (Sept. 1) and then-No. 22 Pepperdine (Sept. 6), both wins. The last time that Michigan faced at least three ranked opponents before the end of September was 2006 (four).
Nkem Ezurike needs four goals to become the all-time scoring leader, which is currently Kacy Beitel (44, 1997-00). Ezurike moved into sole possession of third on the list with Amber Berendowsky (1996-99) after scoring a goal against Iowa last Sunday (Sept. 22). Ezurike is also fourth all-time in career points (97), a record currently held by Abby Crumpton (116, 1999-02).
Since 2010, Michigan is 7-6-3 at U-M Soccer Stadium against Big Ten opponents. The Wolverines are 26-7-5 overall on its home field during that same stretch, including a 16-1-1 mark in their last 18 matches.
With an assist last Sunday at Iowa, Nkem Ezurike has tied her single-season high in that category (six). She also had six helpers as a sophomore in 2011.
Freshman Taylor Bucklin became the first U-M goalkeeper in seven seasons to record an assist during a match. The last one to accomplish the feat was Megan Tuura (2003-06) on Aug. 27, 2006, vs. Arizona.
Ten different players have recorded at least one goal this season (last: Kayla Mannino at Iowa), and 15 different players -- more than half the roster -- have recorded at least one point (last: Taylor Bucklin at Iowa).
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.
Wisconsin is off to a 6-1-1 start and is ranked No. 18 in this week's NSCAA/Continental Tire rankings. The only blemishes on the Badgers' schedule thus far was a 1-1 draw at Oregon State (Sept. 1) and a 4-3 loss to Vanderbilt (Sept. 6), though they are unbeaten on the road (5-0-1). Wisconsin defeated Purdue in their Big Ten opener, 3-1. The Badgers are led offensively by a trio of players, including Cara Walls (tied for third in the Big Ten in goals - seven), Kinley McNicoll (second in the Big Ten in assists -- seven) and Rose Lavelle (10th in the Big Ten points - 14).
Series: Michigan is 10-12-4 all-time against Wisconsin. The Wolverines won both meetings last season, including the regular-season meeting (3-0) on Sept. 23, 2012, in Madison and in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament on Oct. 31 (2-0) in Bloomington, Ind. Michigan has conceded only one goal to the Badgers in the last five outings (Oct. 24, 2010, a 1-0 loss in overtime in Madison).
The Golden Gophers are 7-2-0 this season. They began their Big Ten slate last Saturday (Sept. 21) at Indiana, losing 1-0. Their only other loss came at Florida (Sept. 13). Minnesota has split time between two goalkeepers, but Tarah Hobbs played all 90 minutes in the loss to Indiana, making nine saves. The Golden Gophers are led offensively by Katie Thyken, who leads the team with five goals.
Series: Michigan is 7-11-2 all-time against Minnesota. The Wolverines won last season's regular-season matchup in Minneapolis, 1-0. Michigan has not beaten Minnesota at home since Sept. 28, 2003 (1-0).
Thursday, Oct. 3 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 3 p.m. (TV: Big Ten Network)
Sunday, Oct. 6 -- at Nebraska (Lincoln, Neb.), 1 p.m. CDT
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Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423