First Touch #9: U-M to Welcome MSU Wednesday, Purdue Sunday

Oct. 8, 2012

Wednesday, Oct. 10
-- vs. Michigan State (U-M Soccer Stadium), 7 p.m.
BUY TICKETS | Live Stats | Promotions: Maize Out
Sunday, Oct. 14 -- vs. Purdue (U-M Soccer Stadium), 2 p.m.
BUY TICKETS | Live Stats | Live Video (fee) | Promotions: Pink Game

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Game Day Information: U-M Soccer Stadium Information | Ticket Information
Promotions: Information | Maize Star Events

The No. 21-ranked University of Michigan women's soccer team (11-2-1, 5-0-1 Big Ten) looks to keep its unbeaten streak alive in a pair of home matches this week at the U-M Soccer Stadium. The Wolverines first face in-state rival Michigan State (8-4-2, 2-3-1) on Wednesday (Oct. 10) at 7 p.m. before welcoming Purdue (7-5-2, 2-3-1) on Sunday (Oct. 14) at 2 p.m.

This Wednesday's match against Michigan State has been designated a "Maize Out." Fans are encouraged to wear Maize to the match. Maize pompons will be given to the first 500 fans in attendance.

This Sunday's match against Purdue has been designated the team's "Pink Game." The team will wear pink t-shirts in pregame warmups that will be signed by the entire team and silent auctioned. Pink merchandise will be on sale. The first 250 fans in attendance will receive pink headbands. All proceeds will benefit the American Cancer Society (Making Strides against Breast Cancer).


• With a 5-0-1 record, the Wolverines are in sole possession of second place in the Big Ten standings. Penn State leads the Big Ten at 6-0-0. [ Standings ]

• Michigan tied two program records in last Saturday's (Oct. 6) 2-0 win over Northwestern: longest unbeaten streak (eight) and consecutive road wins (four). The Wolverines set two program records earlier this season, including consecutive shutouts in a season (six) and most minutes without allowing a goal (632:08).

• Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week on Monday (Oct. 8) after posting two saves in another shutout win at Northwestern. She ranks fifth among all NCAA D-I goalkeepers in goals-against average (0.35, also Big Ten leader) and save percentage (.911). Her eight individual shutouts are best among Big Ten goalkeepers. [ Release ]

• With her two-goal performance against Northwestern, Nkem Ezurike has three multi-goal matches this season, all coming against Big Ten opponents (Indiana, at Wisconsin, at Northwestern). She has seven multi-goal matches for her career. Additionally, Ezurike is tied with Nebraska's Mayme Conroy for most goals scored in Big Ten matches this season (eight).

• Last Saturday's win over Northwestern gave Michigan 11 victories on the season. The last time the Wolverines won at least 11 matches in a season was 2004 (11-9-2). They have also scored the first goal in all 11 of those wins (11-1-0 when scoring first) and have not allowed a goal in the first half all season.

• Michigan's next win would be its 12th of the season. The Wolverines have not won 12 or more matches since 2002, when they went 16-7-1.

• The Wolverines are unbeaten home, owning a 7-0-1 record at the U-M Soccer Stadium. Their seven wins are the most home wins since 2002, when the Wolverines won a program-record 12 matches.

• Michigan's last loss came on Sept. 2 at then-No. 11 Long Beach State. Since that date, the Wolverines have gone 7-0-1, outscoring opponents by a 16-1 margin and holding the edge in shots, 131-72.

• The Wolverines have only allowed five goals in 14 matches this season and are on track to set a new program record for fewest goals allowed in a season. The current record is 18, which was set in 2010.

Michigan is 8-5-7 all-time against Michigan State. The Wolverines are 0-3-5 in its last eight meetings with the Spartans and have not beaten their in-state rivals since Oct. 24, 2003 (won 2-1 in overtime in Ann Arbor). Michigan has scored one goal in its last four meetings with Michigan State. Michigan State won last season's contest in East Lansing, 2-0, as Michigan played without Nkem Ezurike, who was forced to sit out a match due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Michigan is 7-3-3 all-time against Purdue, including a 3-1 victory last season in West Lafayette, Ind. Ezurike accounted for all three goals in that contest, giving her the ninth hat trick in school history. The Wolverines are 3-1-2 in their last six contests with the Boilermakers.


Meghan Toohey
Philadelphia, Pa.

Q: Coming off yet another win, how would you describe the team's spirits?
A: Our spirits are high. We're very optimistic. We know we've got a talented team this year, but we know how hard these next five matches will be. I can't remember a time in my three years when we've been more focused than we are now. Greg (Ryan) sent us a very inspiring e-mail after last Saturday's win. We've got an understanding about what it takes to win and we've also got the drive. We all want it really bad.

Q: Big rivalry game on Wednesday against Michigan State. After playing last Saturday, you've got a quick turnaround for this midweek game. Is that an advantage or disadvantage?
A: I see it as an advantage. Normally, we play Friday-Sunday matches, but that only gives us one day to prepare (for Sunday). Having these few days, it's not quite as long as preparing from Sunday to Friday, but we'll have three days to get ready physically and mentally. We'll be ready for Wednesday.

Q:. As a midfielder, you've got to be able to attack and defend. Does your role change for each game or is there one thing that you're looking to do?
A: It depends on the formation we're playing. Right now, I think everyone is playing really well together. Having players like Christina [Murillo], Corinne [Harris] and Tori [McCombs] in the midfield, our connection and rhythm is getting better every game. I can read them as easy as they are reading me. We're totally in sync. As the game goes on, especially towards the end, we're going to be sharp and on-point.

Q: Talk about Nkem Ezurike for a minute. She looks like a different player since she's gotten back from Japan, more aggressive. Just how well is she playing right now?
A: Nkem is on fire right now. You can see it in her attitude in practice and determination during games. She wants to win so bad. She's taken the lead and it isn't fazing her at all. At Northwestern, she scored the first goal and didn't celebrate as much, because she knew how much we need another one. She knows what it takes. One-goal matches are no longer acceptable and it's all because of her determination and spirit. It's unreal to see.

Q: Haley (Kopmeyer) wrote last week in the Yellow Armband about the upcoming bake-off. Who's going to win?
A: Obviously, I'd like to say I'm going to win, but Nkem is pretty good. Clare (Stachel) will bring one of her specialties, so she's a contender, too. We'll focus on that when we're off the field!

Michigan increased its unbeaten streak to eight matches in a 2-0 road victory last Saturday (Oct. 8) against Northwestern.
[ Recap ]

Thursday, Oct. 18
-- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 8 p.m. (TV: Big Ten Network)
Sunday, Oct. 21 -- at Penn State (State College, Pa.), 1 p.m.

The Yellow Armband (Wednesday)

»  Learn about Michigan women's soccer and group ticket opportunities for the 2016 season.