Oct. 1, 2013
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The No. 21-ranked University of Michigan women's soccer team (7-2-1, 1-1-1 Big Ten) will now hit the road for three consecutive matches, with the first two this week. The Wolverines renew their rivalry with in-state challenger Michigan State (7-2-2, 1-2-0) on Thursday (Oct. 3) at 3 p.m. in East Lansing, Mich., and will then travel to Lincoln, Neb., to take on No. 23 Nebraska (8-2-1, 3-0-0) on Sunday (Oct. 6) at 1 p.m. CDT.
Thursday's match at DeMartin Soccer Complex will be shown live on the Big Ten Network and BTN2Go; Dan Kelly (play-by-play) and Danielle Slaton (analyst) will have the call. Sunday's match at Nebraska Soccer Field will be streamed online (for a fee).
Following last week's results, Michigan is ranked No. 21 in this week's NSCAA/Continental Tire rankings, released on Tuesday (Oct. 1). The Wolverines are also ranked No. 29 in the second edition of the RPI, released on Monday. [ Rankings | RPI ]
Four players have been on the field for 90 percent or more of the team's total minutes this season, including defenders Shelina Zadorsky (96 percent -- 901 minutes) and Holly Hein (96 percent -- 899 minutes), midfielder Meghan Toohey (94 percent --875 minutes) and goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin (97 percent -- 908 minutes).
Sunday's match against Nebraska will be Michigan's fourth against a ranked opponent in 2013. The Wolverines are 2-0-1 this season against ranked teams, scoring wins over Pepperdine and San Diego State and a draw vs. Wisconsin. The last time Michigan played four ranked teams in its first 12 matches of the season was 2006.
Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin made a career-best seven saves in last Friday's scoreless draw vs. Wisconsin. Prior to that match, the most saves Bucklin had made in a match was five (Aug. 30 vs. Eastern Michigan). She has made two or fewer saves in six matches this season. Bucklin has started all 10 matches in goal, pitching four shutouts while allowing only five goals and making 26 total saves.
Nkem Ezurike needs four goals to become the all-time scoring leader, currently held by 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 Sept. 22. Ezurike is also fourth all-time in career points (97), a record currently held by Abby Crumpton (116, 1999-02).
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).
A total of 1,273 fans were on hand last Friday (Sept. 27) to see the Wolverines play Wisconsin, the second-largest crowd for a women's match at U-M Soccer Stadium. The record is 3,503 vs. UMass on Sept. 17, 2010. Average attendance numbers have increased each of the last three seasons, going from 688 (2011) to 708 (2012) to 806 (2013). The Wolverines drew an average of 1,072 fans in the 2010 season.
Last Sunday's loss to Minnesota was only the second home loss since the start of last season (other: vs. Illinois on Oct. 27, 2012). During that stretch, Michigan is 16-2-2 at U-M Soccer Stadium. It was also the last time the Wolverines were shut out in back-to-back matches since Oct. 21-23, 2011 (vs. Ohio State, Penn State).
Michigan State is 7-2-2 on the season and 1-2-0 in the Big Ten. The Spartans were undefeated in non-conference action, going 6-0-2, but suffered their first two losses of the season in conference play -- to Nebraska (1-0) and Wisconsin (2-0) -- in the last two weeks. Twelve different players have scored at least one goal for Michigan State. Mary Kathryn Fiebernitz leads the team with four goals. The Spartans have only one senior on their roster.
Series: Michigan is 9-5-7 all-time vs. Michigan State. The Wolverines are 2-4-4 all-time when the match is played in East Lansing, winning only twice, the last time coming Oct. 16, 1998 (4-0). In last season's matchup in Ann Arbor, Emily Jaffe (2011-13) scored a header goal in overtime to give Michigan its first victory in the series since 2003. The Wolverines have scored a total of three goals in the last five contests with the Spartans. In the two teams' matchup in 2011, Nkem Ezurike was forced to sit out due to an accumulation of yellow cards (Michigan State won, 2-0).
Nebraska is 8-2-1 on the season and sits tied atop the Big Ten standings with a 3-0-0 record. The Cornhuskers have won six matches in a row heading into their Thursday contest with Iowa, most recently defeating Northwestern (2-1) and Illinois (3-2) on the road last weekend. Nebraska has five players with eight or more points, including Jaycie Johnson, who leads the team in points (15) and goals (seven), and Mayme Conroy (5 G), Jordan Jackson (3 G, 3 A), Katie Kraetner (3 G, 2 A) and Sydney Miramontez (3 G, 2 A).
Series: Michigan is 3-1-1 all-time vs. Nebraska. The Wolverines have won both matchups since Nebraska joined the conference in 2011, winning in Lincoln in 2011 (2-1) and in Ann Arbor last season (2-1, OT). In those two contests, Nkem Ezurike has three goals.
Sunday, Oct. 13 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.), 1 p.m.
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