Oct. 16, 2012
Thursday, Oct. 18 -- at Ohio State (Columbus, Ohio), 8 p.m.
TV: Big Ten Network (live) | Live Stats
Sunday, Oct. 21 -- at #4 Penn State (State College, Pa.), 1 p.m.
Live Video (fee) | Live Stats
Social Media: Facebook | Twitter
Game Day Information: U-M Soccer Stadium Information | Ticket Information
The No. 17-ranked Wolverines (13-2-1, 7-0-1) look to keep pace in the Big Ten championship race as they take their final road trip of the season, squaring off against archrival Ohio State (10-4-1, 5-2-1) on Thursday (Oct. 18) at 8 p.m. at Jesse Owens Memorial Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, and No. 4 Penn State (14-2-0, 8-0-0) on Sunday (Oct. 21) at 1 p.m. at Jeffrey Field in State College, Pa.
Thursday's match against Ohio State will be shown live on the Big Ten Network, with Dan Kelly and Danielle Slaton calling the action. Sunday's match against Penn State will be streamed online (for a fee) and can be seen through the MGoBlue.com All-Access Player.
With a 7-0-1 record, the Wolverines, who have allowed just two goals in conference play, are in sole possession of second place in the Big Ten standings. Penn State leads the Big Ten at 8-0-0. Michigan has won seven conference matches only twice in program history (1997, 2002). The program record for most conference wins in a season is eight, which happened in the 1999 and 2001 seasons. [ Big Ten Standings ]
With her goal against Michigan State (Oct. 10), Emily Jaffe became the 13th different U-M player to score at least one goal this season. [ Statistics ]
The win over Purdue was Michigan's 11th shutout of the season. Haley Kopmeyer has nine individual shutouts, and 25 for her career, tying for the program record with Suzie Grech (2000-03). The program record for most shutouts in a season is 12, set back in 2001.
The Wolverines have won 13 matches for the first time since 2002, when they went 16-7-1. They are also unbeaten at home with one match remaining (Oct. 27 vs. Illinois), owning a 9-0-1 record at the U-M Soccer Stadium (most home wins since 2002 -- 12).
Michigan's unbeaten streak began following a 2-1 loss to then-No. 11 Long Beach State. Since that date, the Wolverines have gone 9-0-1 (a program record for unbeaten streak), outscoring opponents by a 20-2 margin, and holding the edge in shots, 176-89.
The Wolverines have only allowed six goals in 16 matches this season and could set a new program record for fewest goals allowed in a season. The current record is 18, which was set in 2010.
On offense, the defensive quartet of Shelina Zadorsky, Holly Hein, Kayla Mannino and Chloe Sosenko have accounted for three goals and eight assists this season. On defense, they have limited opponents to single-digit shots in seven matches this season.
Ohio State is 10-4-1 on the season (5-2-1 in the Big Ten) and owns a 7-1-0 record at home, with the only loss coming to Penn State on Sept. 27. The Buckeyes are the third team outside the top 25 to receive votes in this week's poll. Forwards Tiffany Cameron and Lauren Granberg have combined for 18 of the team's 23 goals scored this season. On defense, the Buckeyes are ranked second in the Big Ten to Michigan in goals allowed (U-M 2; OSU 9).
Penn State is 14-2-0 on the season (8-0-0 in the Big Ten) and is 6-1-0 at home. The fourth-ranked Nittany Lions are winners of nine straight and currently lead Michigan in the Big Ten standings by two points. They are No. 1 in scoring offense in the nation and Big Ten, scoring 3.25 goals per game (52 G in 16 matches). Their attack is led by All-Americans Christine Nairn (11 G, 8 A) and Maya Hayes (11 G, 4 A), as well as freshman Mallory Weber (9 G, 2 A).
Michigan is 12-9-2 all-time against Ohio State but has lost the last three meetings. Its last win over the Buckeyes came on Oct. 12, 2008, which was Greg Ryan's first Big Ten victory at Michigan. The Buckeyes won last season's meeting, 1-0, in Ann Arbor (Oct. 21, 2011).
Michigan is 4-17-4 all-time against Penn State. The Wolverines have not beaten the Nittany Lions since Oct. 4, 2002, a 4-0 victory in Ann Arbor. Penn State won, 4-0, last season in Ann Arbor (Oct. 23, 2011). The last time Michigan played a team ranked in the top five was Aug. 22, 2008, at then-No. 5 Notre Dame (lost 7-0). That match was Greg Ryan's Michigan head coaching debut.
IN THE SPOTLIGHT
Q: First off, take us back to that Michigan State match. Not a bad way to score your first career goal. Describe your feelings after that moment.
A: I was completely thrilled. It took a second to realize that the ball went in. That was our first win over Michigan State in a long time and that was just really exciting. The most important thing, for me, was that I could contribute to the team. It took us one step closer to winning the Big Ten championship.
Q: You scored against Purdue in the exact same way, off a corner kick from Shelina Zadorsky. Is that something you've been working on? Being more aggressive on set pieces?
A: Yes, but it's really been something we've worked on as a team. Greg has really talked to us about being aggressive on free kicks and corner, and how important set pieces are to a team's success. He keeps telling us that converting those plays is how you become one of the best teams out there. I'm trying to change my mentality. I've been telling myself that I can get on the end of those balls. It's a lot more likely to happen if you tell yourself you can do it first.
Q: This is a big week for the team, with matches at Ohio State and Penn State. You missed out on both of those contest last season, and will get your first taste of the Michigan/Ohio State rivalry on Thursday. It doesn't take much to get either side motivated but what will it take to get a win there?
A: It's going to take two things. First, our defense is going to have to come out and be solid, which they've done all season. Second, we have to finish our chances. I think we'll have to score more than one goal to win. The whole team is going to have to play hard together, which I think we will do.
Q: The team has accomplished so much already this season. As a senior and one of the leaders of the team, how are you able stay hungry? In other words, what drives this team?
A: At the beginning of the season, our captains made a list of goals. A lot of those goals were accomplished early on in the season, like winning most of our non-conference matches. Some of those goals are per game, like playing hard the first five minutes or getting two goals. We keep going because we also set goals that are huge and really hard to reach. When we win a game, we're excited that night, then we put it behind us the next day and move on to the next one. We're managing our emotions so as to not get too high or too low.
Q: You and Cassie Collins have really locked down that holding midfielder spot. You're a senior, and she is a freshman, but there doesn't seem to be much of a drop off when one of you subs for the other. Talk about the cohesiveness and understanding that you two have of the position.
A: We both understand that spot is all about doing the dirty work. We go in for tackles, run back and forth between attack and defense, and cut off passes to the opposing team's forwards. I think Cassie has done a great job out there. She gets hard tackles in and her presence out there has made a huge difference for this team. She shuts down midfielders before they can even start to attack and gets the ball up the field quickly so we can start our counter-attack.
LAST TIME OUT
The Wolverines ran their school-record unbeaten streak to 10 matches with wins over Michigan State (2-1) and Purdue (2-0) last week. [ Recaps: Michigan State | Purdue ]
Saturday, Oct. 27 -- vs. Illinois - Senior Day (U-M Soccer Stadium), 6 p.m.
OTHER RELATED LINKS
Captains Blog: The Yellow Armband (Wednesday)
Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423