First Touch #11: U-M to Conclude Regular Season at No. 20 Illinois
Kayla Mannino

Oct. 24, 2011

Holly Hein Interview (Oct. 23)

Saturday, Oct. 29 -- at No. 20 Illinois (Champaign, Ill.), 6 p.m. CDT
Live Stats

The University of Michigan women's soccer team (9-7-2, 4-5-1 Big Ten) its seeking its second straight double-digit win season, as it closes out Big Ten play on the road at No. 20 Illinois (13-4-1, 7-2-1) on Saturday (Oct. 29) at the Illinois Soccer & Track Stadium in Champaign, Ill. The game will begin at 6 p.m. CDT.


Logjam! ... Michigan's game at Illinois this Saturday is not only the final regular-season game, but a win could put the Wolverines into the Big Ten Tournament, to be held Nov. 2-6 in Evanston, Ill.

With a win over Michigan last Sunday, Penn State clinched the No. 1 seed and will face Northwestern in the first round. The Wildcats get into the tournament automatically by virtue of hosting. Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan State have earned bids as well and will be seeded second through fourth.

Indiana has been mathematically eliminated from the tournament, leaving the other six schools -- Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Ohio State, Nebraska and Purdue -- to fight for the last three spots this weekend. All six schools have four wins and are within two points of each other.

If it comes down to tiebreakers, Michigan holds the edge over Iowa, Purdue and Nebraska by virtue of winning the head-to-head match-ups during the regular season. The Wolverines lost to Ohio State and Minnesota, so the Buckeyes and Golden Gophers will get the edge on Michigan if there is a tie.

Want to do some scoreboard watching? Here's the schedule for the final week of the Big Ten regular season, including live stats links for each game:

Purdue at Penn State - Friday, Oct. 28, 7 p.m. [ Live Stats ]
Nebraska at Minnesota - Friday, Oct. 28, 8 p.m. CDT [ Live Stats ]
Iowa at Wisconsin - Saturday, Oct. 29, 1 p.m. CDT [ Live Stats ]
MICHIGAN at Illinois - Saturday, Oct. 29, 6 p.m. CDT [ Live Stats ]
Indiana at Ohio State - Sunday, Oct. 30, 1 p.m. EDT [ Live Stats ]

[ 2011 Big Ten Tournament Central ]

Thank You Seniors! ... Prior to last Sunday's (Oct. 23) game against Penn State, seniors Kristen Goncalves, Courtney Mercier, and Kim Siebert were honored on the field. Those three, along with Clare Stachel and Haley Kopmeyer, were a part of the first freshman class to play under head coach Greg Ryan at Michigan. Kopmeyer and Stachel each have one year of eligibility remaining.

U-M Looking for 10 Wins Again ... U-M is looking to reach 10 wins for the second straight season. Before a 10-win effort during the 2010 campaign, Michigan had not reached double digits in victories since 2004.

The Wolverines also seek their fifth conference triumph to match last season's mark, the most since 2004 (6).

Opponent Quick Hitters ... Illinois ... Michigan is 11-6-1 (.639) all-time against Illinois ... the Wolverines won last season's contest in Ann Arbor, 3-2 (Oct. 31, 2010) ... Michigan has won five of the last eight meetings against Illinois ... the Wolverines' last win in Champaign came on Nov. 1, 2009 (W, 1-0).

Weekend Recap ... The Wolverines closed out its 2011 home slate with a pair of losses last weekend. Michigan lost 1-0 to Ohio State last Friday (Oct. 21), and 4-0 to No. 14 Penn State last Sunday (Oct. 23). [ Recaps: Ohio State | Penn State ] [ Michigan Daily: Ohio State | Penn State ]

Improvement Made ... After a phenomenal freshman season in which she earned All-Big Ten honors, Nkem Ezurike has improved on just about every statistic from a year ago:

Year GP-GS G A Pts Shots Shot% SOG SOG% GWG PK-Att
2010 18-18 9 1 19 52 .173 25 .481 3 0-0
2011 17-17 10 5 25 62 .161 23 .371 3 0-1

Ezurike has scored the team's last six goals, dating back to Sept. 23 against Minnesota. She needs two goals to tie for ninth all-time in career goals (21), and one goal to tie for eighth for single-season goals (11).

Filling The Void ... Freshman Chloe Sosenko has started the four of the last five contests in the midfield for Michigan, replacing the void left by midfielder Meghan Toohey, who is out for the season (injury). Since Toohey was injured on Sept. 30 against Iowa, Sosenko has stepped in and recorded two assists in her last four games.

Iron Women ... Senior/junior goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer has played every minute of every game this season (1660:00), while sophomore defender Shelina Zadorsky has been on the field for all but 11 minutes all season (1,649 of 1,660).

First Strike ... Michigan has been unbeatable this season when it has scored first. The Wolverines are 8-0-1 when they score first in games but just 1-7-0 when the opponent scores first.

Unusual Split ... Michigan ended the 2011 home slate with a 4-5-2 record, but it has fared much better on the road, going 5-2. Four of those five road wins have come against conference foes.

Climbing The Ladder ... Haley Kopmeyer has recorded 287 saves in her career. Megan Tuura (2003-06) is the program leader with 322 and Carissa Stewart (1997-00) is second with 308.

Megan Tuura (2003-06)322
Carissa Stewart (1997-00)308
Haley Kopmeyer (2008-)287
Suzie Grech (2000-03)256

Kopmeyer has 105 saves on the season, reaching the century mark in last Friday's loss to Ohio State. She now holds the program record for most saves in a season.

Balanced Attack ... This season, nine different Michigan players have scored at least one goal, and 12 different players have recorded at least one point. In addition, all 25 players on the roster has seen game action this year.

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.

The Long Battle ... Michigan will play the rest of the season without junior Holly Hein, who had surgery on 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. [ Feature: Hein Determined to Win Another Battle ]

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