Sept. 27, 2012
Periodically throughout the 2012 season, tri-captains Holly Hein, Haley Kopmeyer and Clare Stachel will provide an inside look at the University of Michigan women's soccer team through this blog, The Yellow Armband. In this entry, Hein recaps the Big Ten sweep during this past weekend's road trip.
It was another BIG weekend for Michigan women's soccer. Away trips are always a good time with the girls but playing on the road is never easy. Minnesota and Wisconsin were both worthy opponents and I am extremely proud of the team for bringing home two W's.
The wins did not come without a bit of preparation, however. We spent the week collectively brainstorming the best-suited formation to come out in for the weekend's games. It was interesting to hear everyone's individual ideas on how take on our opponents. Each idea was designated a "plan" with no distinction from the next "plan," other than Greg changing his intonation, which was pretty amusing for everyone. In the end, I think we ended up with a pretty interesting hybrid combination of all the "plans," so the wins were truly a team effort from the drawing board (and a great learning experience for a hopeful future coach).
The team entered Friday night's match committed to continuing our winning streak against Minnesota. After a bit of pregame pump up music courtesy of Nkem Ezurike and some hilarious dancing demonstrations by Jen Pace and Shelby Chambers-Garcia, we were all set to go. The girls were determined to match the fight we knew the Gophers would bring to the game and did just that. The pump up music apparently worked, too, as Nkem put one away for us in the first half. We were able to hold on for the remainder of the match despite a slight delay when the stadium lights went out halfway through the second half. It was by far the strangest experience I've ever had during a game, but we stayed focused and came out the victors.
Beating Wisconsin on Sunday was another new experience for our team as we had yet to beat the Badgers during my Michigan career. We took a 1-0 lead into halftime and were determined and hungry to continue to score as well as to keep Wisconsin off the board in the second half. We did just that, going at them from the get-go and defending as an entire unit to earn the shutout. Haley Kopmeyer came up big for us in goal all weekend, making the necessary big saves and helping us to the awesome 3-0-0 Big Ten start!
Between all the games, flights, and homework, we were able to squeeze in a bit more fun. Upon our arrival in Minnesota last Thursday night, the team took the Rainbow Market by storm as we all paraded off the bus and searched for the best snacks to have in our rooms for the trip. Needless to say, the cashier was a little overwhelmed as we all reconvened to pay together, but don't worry, we bagged our own items! Saturday brought more fun as our light practice in between games ended in a massive game of Duck-Duck-Goose, a game which you are never too old to play. And finally, after the Wisconsin game, the trip ended in the best way I could have imagined as the coaches treated us all to ice cream in the Wisconsin Union and Greg and Dino showed off their old stomping grounds.
I cannot wait until our next away trip as this one was truly a blast. It will be hard to top it, but I am fully confident in our team. This weekend should be pretty great, too, as there is nothing quite like playing in front of the wonderful Michigan fans at U-M Soccer Stadium. Like every team in the Big Ten, Iowa and Nebraska are two very good teams that are going to give us their best shot. Each game will be a challenge. We need to take those challenges head-on, and I'm fully confident that we'll be able to do that.
I hope to see you all out at the Stadium this weekend. No football this weekend, so there's no excuse!
Until next time,