The Yellow Armband: Rivalry Week
Meghan Toohey

Oct. 31, 2013

Hello to everyone again!

I cannot believe I am writing this Yellow Armband as we face our final regular-season home match this Saturday against Ohio State. It is unbelievable how fast this season has gone by. Right now, we're 14-2-1 and 8-1-1 in the Big Ten in the Big Ten. The worst we can possibly place is second in the Big Ten. Indiana plays Nebraska on Friday. If the match results in a draw, we have a chance to share the Big Ten championship. And if Indiana pulls off a win, then we have a chance to win the title outright. With all of that said, I hope you can feel both my excitement for this match, but regardless of what happens, just know that I am unbelievably proud of what this team has accomplished.

The statistics speak for themselves. This team is talented. We have the opportunity to do something very special this year and I have complete faith in this team to continue what we've done all year: strive to be great, RELENTLESS and give everything we have for this team every minute -- every second -- on the field. When we are successful, this is exactly how we achieve it. Everyone putting in the work throughout the week, listening to the scouting reports from our coaches and most importantly, taking each match as a time and believing we can win regardless of the circumstances.

More than talent, this team is full of the most motivated, determined, lively, goofy, fun, smart and inspiring people I've ever met. You could be having the absolute worst day, walking up to our practice field kicking rocks and worry about all of the things that are going wrong at the moment. Then you walk into our locker room and there is Jen Pace doing the most outrageous dance move/cartwheel. You cannot help but laugh, take a deep breath and just feel at home. I think that pure talent, determination and all of the other components that this team has are the primary tools to be a successful team. But not every team can say they have the character qualities, love and support for each like we do. This is what makes the time we share together irreplaceable. Between practice, matches, weekend trips, sitting at home (since the majority of us live together), we basically spend all of our time around each other. When we do have a few extra hours to spare, who do you think we choose to spend our time with? I can guarantee that we will be doing something involving a teammate. The bond this team has is rare. When I look back at my time at Michigan and think about the most memorable achievements or wins, the reasons they will pull on my heartstrings is not solely because we were good or because we beat this team or that team, but because of the girls that I spent that time with.

The rundown:
Taylor Bucklin: If you want to meet a girl full of life and energy both on and off the field, say hello to CraTay.
Maddie Clarfield: Smartest girl in the classroom and the most positive person I know. You can feel her warmth and dedication from a mile away.
Jen Pace: You all know this one is a goofball, but Jen also has the biggest heart. Her compassion and love inspires me day in and day out.
• Lindy Porritt: Another comedian on the team. Lindy just has one of those personalities that you love to be around, never having a negative thing to say about anything or anybody.
• Madi Lewis: I felt like I knew Madi the first time I met her. She has this confidence and openness that is unique. Once you get to know Madi, you see she will do anything for you both as a teammate and as a friend.
Christina Murillo: AKA Rosa, Tina might be the most easy-going person on the team, but her passion for soccer and the team is fierce and evident in all she does.
Lulu Haidar: She is just an absolute sweetheart. Her love for soccer and people, especially her family, is warming and comforting to anyone who knows her.
Melissa Kreutz: Missy might seem quiet at first, but I think she is hilarious, along with honestly being one of the most kind-hearted souls I know who always puts her friends before herself.
Sydney Raguse: One leading member of the Awkward Band, Syd is a riot and can make me laugh for days on end.
Megan Schechtman: AKA Schecky. If you didn't know, her favorite food is bread. Plain. These days, it might be an apple. She embraces the ideals of being a true Michigan teammate, striving to be the best she can be in all areas of life with a big heart leading her.
Cassie Collins: AKA Beyonce. She comes off as quiet sometimes, but she is far from it. I love her sassiness and fun personality because she really is a great person who loves and cares about her friends way more than she likes to lead on sometimes.
Anna Soccorsi: Anna and I go way back, playing for the same club team and coach. She is the fastest person I know -- by far -- but I would say humble and gracious are better words that describe her.
Danielle Mazur: Dani is the light of the room. She is so much fun to be around. Her positive and hardworking attitude will take her very far, that much I'm sure of.
Keyana Thompson-Shaw: If you didn't know, she is not just athletic, but she's a fantastic artist. I can talk to Key about anything and everything under the sun.
Jessica Heifetz: Jess is another riot on the team. I don't think I've ever seen her not smiling or laughing. She tells you exactly how she is feeling. You can expect honesty with her, and I love that about her.
Chloe Sosenko: AKA baby clover. Chloe to me is such an example of the kind of teammate you want to have to win, the kind of friend you want to have in life and the leader who gives you the kind of advice you won't forget. She gives everything she has to the team in a form that shows her love and support day in and day out.
Nicky Waldeck: I don't think that Nicky has one bad bone in her body. She combines competitiveness with a team-oriented attitude almost better than anyone I've met. Especially for it being her first year, she is a person you want to have on your side.
Bailey Haydock: Bailey makes me laugh. She is both brilliant and honest and the way those two combine make for very entertaining conversations! She also is very caring and considerate about other people, that Southern gal!
Christina Ordonez: Tina is such a lively, positive, fun person to be around. Whether its soccer, school or just hanging out, she brings a type of ease that is comforting and inspiring.
• Corrine Harris: She is a little ball of energy, both on and off the field and in the classroom. Corinne is one of a kind. I think I would describe her most as passionate.
Zaryn Jennings: She is just one of those people who you feel comfortable around from the moment you meet them. Z has the warmest and most open personality that you cannot help but love.

Then the seniors. I couldn't ask for a better group of girls to spend these four years with:

Holly Hein: Adopted into our class, Holly is a fantastic leader. She has shown me what it looks like to fight through anything and has inspired me to remember what this all really means, that the team is more important than the individual.
Nkem Ezurike: The humble star who would most likely never tell you she even played soccer if you met her on the street. Nkem is the most gracious, understanding, kind-hearted, most selfless person I've ever met. Don't let intentionally-shy personality fool you. That girl has more energy than anyone I know and can be very loud when she wants. Fun fact: Nkem is a great cook who likes to sing a little song before her meals: "What am I gonna eat today, what am I gonna eat today," on repeat.
• Shelby Garcia: Garcia is the life of the locker room on match day. I'm not sure what I would do without her spirit. She is always there when you need a hug with a comment that'll make you laugh. As outgoing and fun as she is, Garc has a huge heart. She loves this team more than anything. Just talk to her for a few minutes, and I'm sure you'll be able to tell that, as well.
Shelina Zadorsky: Shelina has such a unique blend of characteristics. She is genuine, smart, open, loving, caring, passionate -- I could go on and on. Shelina is the kind of leader that makes you want to play better. She brings out the best soccer qualities in you. She also has that ability in life.
Tori McCombs: My freshman roommate. Tori has amazing passion for soccer and for this team. She wants to win and will do everything in her power to do so. Her game is inspiring. If I am tired and feel like I cannot make a run, I look up and see Tori busting her butt to get to a ball. It gives me the extra push I need. Tori's passion for people is the same way. She will go out of her way to make you feel special and help you up when you need a hand.
Kayla Mannino: Kayla is by far the kindest person I've ever known. Her love for our team, her family and even people she hardly knows is so genuine. I question whether she even thinks a bad thought sometimes. She cares about the meaning of life in her daily actions in a way that inspires me to do the same, not to mention how Kayla's leadership on the team can be found in her example during practice and matches. She has a focus and determination to take her game to the next level.

These girls have become my sisters. They've been there for me when I was ravishing in happiness over beating Penn State in Happy Valley for the first time ever, as well as being a shoulder to cry on when my grandfather passed away. These girls have pushed me to be the best soccer player I can be, but more importantly, they have taught me things that are supremely important -- friendship, love, family and happiness.

I am so thankful to have been given the opportunity to call these girls my teammates, my family. I am so excited to be at this point in the season, to play on Saturday night against the Buckeyes and to share our field with this team. They beat us twice last year, and we haven't forgotten. We know this match will be an absolute physical battle and test our team's mental and physical wits once again. However, I think we will not only rise to the occasion but finish the season exactly how we started: fighting to every chance we get to play together and to WIN FOR MICHIGAN. Come out and support us as we RELENTLESSLY strive for greatness.

Always and forever,

-- Meghan

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