First Touch #8: U-M to Entertain Northwestern for Saturday Showdown
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MGOBLUE

Oct. 4, 2011

THIS WEEK
Saturday, Oct. 8 -- vs. Northwestern (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7 p.m.
Live Stats | Live Video | Promotions: Super Fans, Girl Scout Night, Autographs

The University of Michigan women's soccer team (8-3-2, 3-1-1 Big Ten) takes a brief reprieve from the road this weekend when it hosts Northwestern (1-11-0, 0-5-0 Big Ten) on Saturday (Oct. 8) inside the U-M Soccer Stadium. The game will begin at 7 p.m. and will be available via live stream on MGoBlue.com.

The Wolverines, who are currently riding a three-game unbeaten streak (2-0-1), moved up from 10th to eighth in the most-recent Great Lakes Region poll.

WOLVERINE BITES

Opponent Quick Hitters ... Michigan is 10-4-5 all-time against Northwestern ... four of the last five meetings between the two teams have ended in a draw ... the Wolverines' last victory against Northwestern came on Oct. 7, 2005, in a 3-2 victory in Ann Arbor ... Northwestern's last victory over Michigan in Ann Arbor came on Sept. 29, 1995 (3-1) ... the two teams battled to a 1-1 draw last season in Evanston (Oct. 2, 2010).

Strong at Home in 2011 ... U-M is 4-2-2 this season at home, outscoring its opponents 16-7. Since the U-M Soccer Stadium was completed at the start of last season, the Wolverines hold a 10-3-4 record in Ann Arbor.

Watch Us ... Fans will be able to see four of the team's last six games either online or on television through the Big Ten Network.

Saturday, Oct. 8 -- vs. Northwestern (BTN.com)
Wednesday, Oct. 12 -- at Michigan State (BTN.com) *
Friday, Oct. 21 -- vs. Ohio State (BTN.com) **
Sunday, Oct. 23 -- vs. Penn State (Big Ten Network, Live).

* Big Ten Network will replay game on Thursday, Oct. 13, at 12:30 p.m.
** Big Ten Network will replay game on Monday, Oct. 24, at noon.

Weekend Recap ... Nkem Ezurike scored all three of the team's goals over the weekend, helping Michigan to road wins over previously undefeated Iowa (W, 1-0, on Sept. 30) and Nebraska (W, 2-1, on Oct. 2). Ezurike scored the game-winner against Iowa in the 54th minute and scored the other two against the Cornhuskers on assists from Clare Stachel and Chloe Sosenko, respectively. Haley Kopmeyer made a total of 16 saves over the weekend in goal. [ Recaps: Iowa | Nebraska | Michigan Daily ]

Road Warriors ... Wins at Iowa and at Nebraska last weekend gave Michigan its first weekend sweep on the road in Big Ten play since 2004. The Wolverines won their first four road games to start that season, blanking Minnesota (Sept. 24, 1-0), Iowa (Sept. 26, 4-0), Purdue (Oct. 8, 1-0) and Indiana (Oct. 10, 1-0). Prior to last weekend, the last time Michigan won back-to-back conference road games was Oct. 17 (at Indiana) and Oct. 22 (at Minnesota) last season.

Getting Honored ... Nkem Ezurike and Haley Kopmeyer each earned weekly honors on Monday (Oct. 3) based on their play from last weekend. Ezurike was named Co-Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week, as well as being named to the TopDrawerSoccer.com College Team of the Week and a CS360.com Week Seven Primetime Performer. Kopmeyer was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week for the second time in the last three weeks. [ Release | TopDrawerSoccer.com | CS360.com ]

Climbing The Ladder ... Haley Kopmeyer needs two saves to pass Carissa Stewart (1997-00) for second all-time in school history for career saves (308) and 16 to pass Megan Tuura (2003-06), and become the school's all-time leader (Tuura had 322 saves). Kopmeyer is leading Ten in saves (84), save percentage (.884), saves per game (6.46), and shutouts (six), and is third in goals-against average (0.82).

Career Saves

1. Megan Tuura (2003-06)       322
2. Carissa Stewart (1997-00)    308
3. Haley Kopmeyer (2008-) 307
4. Suzie Grech (2000-03)         256

Among The Big Ten's Best ... TopDrawerSoccer.com released its Big Ten Mid-Season Top 20 list on Wednesday, Sept. 21. Two U-M players dot the rankings -- Nkem Ezurike at No. 10 and Haley Kopmeyer at No. 19. [ Full List ]

Balanced Attack ... This season, nine different Michigan players have scored at least one goal, and 11 different players have recorded at least one point. In addition, all 25 players on the roster has seen game action this year.

Introducing the Captains ... Four U-M student-athletes rep the yellow armband this season -- seniors Kristen Goncalves, Courtney Mercier, and redshirt juniors Haley Kopmeyer and Clare Stachel. All four players were part of the first freshman class to play under Ryan.

Youth Movement ... The Wolverines are tied with Purdue for the second-most underclassmen in the Big Ten (18, includes freshmen and sophomores, athletic eligibility only). Indiana is the youngest with 20. Also, Michigan has only three seniors, the lowest number of any team in the conference.

With An Eye Toward The Postseason ... After a two-year hiatus, the Big Ten Tournament returns in one month, being held Nov. 2-6 in Evanston, Ill. The top eight teams from the conference will vie for the tournament championship and the league's automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament. Northwestern will serve as host and automatically gets a spot in the tournament field, regardless of its finish during the regular season.

The Long Battle ... Michigan will play the rest of the season without junior Holly Hein, who had surgery last Thursday (Sept. 29) to treat thyroid cancer. Hein, who played six games, will redshirt the remainder of the season with an eye on returning next season as a redshirt junior. The team will wear teal armbands with Hein's No. 21 embroidered for the rest of the season. [ Hein Determined to Win Another Battle ]

Other Notes ... Freshman Chloe Sosenko recorded an assist on Ezurike's second goal at Nebraska. It was her second assist of the season ... sophomore Meghan Toohey played only 14 minutes against Iowa before leaving due to injury. She did not play against Nebraska ... Michigan gave Iowa its first loss of the season in last Friday's game ... sophomore defender Shelina Zadorsky has been on the field for all but 11 minutes this season (1,199 of 1,210) ... Prior to Michigan's 2-1 victory at Northwestern on Sunday, its previous four wins all came by the same score (1-0) ... the Wolverines' home game against Northwestern this Saturday is sandwiched between two road games on each end (Iowa and Nebraska last weekend; Michigan State and Purdue next week).

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Promotions

UPCOMING SCHEDULE
Wednesday, Oct. 12 -- at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.), 4 p.m.
Sunday, Oct. 16 -- at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.), 1 p.m.

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423


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