First Touch #12: Wolverines Set for Big Ten Tournament Play
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Nov. 5, 2013

THIS WEEK -- BIG TEN TOURNAMENT
Wednesday, Nov. 6
-- vs. Iowa (Champaign, Ill.), 1:30 p.m. CST
Live Stats | Bracket PDF | Tournament Central

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The No. 7-ranked University of Michigan women's soccer team (15-2-1) begins its postseason push this week at the 2013 Big Ten Tournament, hosted by the University of Illinois. The Wolverines, the tournament's No. 2 seed, will play seventh-seeded Iowa (13-5-1) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday (Nov. 6) at 1:30 p.m. CST.

All four quarterfinal matches will be streamed online (for a fee) via the MGoBlue All-Access Player and Big Ten Digital Network. Those links will be available prior to kickoff. Should Michigan advance, it will play the winner of (3) Penn State/(6) Wisconsin on Friday (Nov. 8) at 11 a.m. CST. The championship will be played on Sunday (Nov. 10) at 1 p.m. The two semifinal matches and championship match will be shown live on the Big Ten Network.

**Wednesday Venue Change Announced**

Due to impending inclement weather in Champaign, the venue for all four quarterfinal matches has been changed. The matches will now be played at the Campus Recreation turf soccer fields. The weather forecast calls for a 100-percent chance of rain during the day with winds as high as 20 miles per hour.

Two sessions of simultaneous games will be played side by side at 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. As a result of the change, no live video stream will be available.

The full schedule can be found below:

1:30 p.m.
#3 Penn State vs. #6 Wisconsin
#2 MICHIGAN vs. #7 Iowa

4:30 p.m.
#1 Nebraska vs. #8 Minnesota
#4 Indiana vs. #5 Illinois

The semifinals and championship match will be played at Illinois Soccer Stadium as originally planned.

[ Full Release via FIghtingIllini.com ]

BIG TEN TOURNAMENT HISTORY
The Wolverines are making their 15th appearance in the Big Ten Tournament and have earned back-to-back berths for the first time since the 2005-06 seasons. Overall, Michigan is 17-11-3 all-time in the Big Ten Tournament and has made the championship match five times, winning twice (1997, 1999). Last season, Michigan defeated Wisconsin, 2-0, in the quarterfinals but lost to Ohio State, 2-1, in the semifinals.

The last time the Big Ten Tournament was in Champaign was 2000. The Wolverines made the championship match that year but lost to Penn State, 1-0. Michigan and Iowa have met only once in Big Ten Tournament history -- also in 2000 -- with U-M winning, 2-0, in the quarterfinals.

The No. 2 seed at the Big Ten Tournament has advanced to the championship in seven of the last eight tournaments, which includes five wins (2003, 2004, 2007, 2011, 2012). The tournament was not held from 2009-10.

WOLVERINE BITES

• Five players received All-Big Ten recognition on Tuesday. Seniors Nkem Ezurike (forward), Meghan Toohey (midfield), Holly Hein (defense) and Shelina Zadorsky (defense) were named to the first team at their respective positions, while freshman Madisson Lewis (forward) was named to the All-Big Ten Freshman Team.

• Michigan finished second in the Big Ten Conference for the fifth time in program history and first time since 2002 (also: 1997, 1999, 2001). It ties for the highest finish in conference play in program history. The Wolverines won nine Big Ten matches this season -- most in program history -- and currently have 15 wins, the fourth-most number of wins in a single season in program history. The record is 18 (1997).

• U-M enters the Big Ten Tournament riding an eight-match winning streak, a new program record. The previous best was seven, set Sept. 7-28, 1997. During the current streak, which began on Oct. 3 at Michigan State, Michigan has outscored opponents by a 16-3 margin and has put up five shutouts.

• Michigan is ranked No. 7 in this week's NSCAA/Continental Tire rankings, released on Tuesday. It is the highest national ranking in program history. The Wolverines were ranked No. 8 last week. Prior to that, the highest Michigan had ever been ranked was No. 9 back on Oct. 7, 2002. The Wolverines are ranked No. 6 in the RPI, released Monday. [ Rankings | RPI ]

• Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin was named Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week and Freshman of the Week on Monday (Nov. 4). She made seven saves in a 2-0 shutout against Ohio State last Saturday (Nov. 2). [ Release ]

• The victory over the Buckeyes was the 50th win for the seven-member senior class, the sixth-most wins by a senior class in program history and most since the Class of 2004 (51). The Class of 2000 was the most successful class, winning 62 matches. Since the beginning of last season, Michigan has won 31 matches, the most in a two-year stretch since 1998-99 (31).

• Since losing its first road match of the season back on Sept. 15 at Butler (1-0), Michigan has won six consecutive matches away from Ann Arbor, tying a program record for most road wins in a season (also: 1998, 2004). Wednesday's match against Iowa will be the first neutral-site match Michigan has played this season.

• Out of 323 schools, U-M ranks seventh in goals-against average (0.49) and 10th in save percentage (.880). Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin is eighth nationally in goals-against average (0.44) and ninth in save percentage (.887). Among Big Ten schools, Michigan is first in fewest goals allowed (nine), goals-against average (0.49) and shutouts (nine) and 11th in saves (66).

• The Wolverines enter the Big Ten Tournament with a shutout streak of 336:59, not having allowed a goal since the 23:01 mark against Purdue on Oct. 20.

• As a team, Michigan has 41 assists this season, the most assists recorded in a season since 2002 (51). Seniors Nkem Ezurike and Shelina Zadorsky rank among the top five in the Big Ten in that category, as they are tied for third (nine) and tied for fifth (eight), respectively. Only five players in program history have recorded double-digit assists in a season (none since 2002): Amber Berendowsky (17 -- 1997), Abby Crumpton (13 -- 2002), Kacy Beitel (13 -- 2000), Emily Schmitt (13 -- 1999) and Amy Sullivant (11 -- 2002).

• With a goal and an assist last Saturday vs. Ohio State, Nkem Ezurike is up to 111 career points. She is currently fourth on the all-time list for points and needs six to break the record of 116, held by Abby Crumpton (1999-02); Ezurike ranks third in the Big Ten in points (31). On Oct. 20 vs. Purdue, Ezurike became the program's career leader in goals (46).

Points
1. Abby Crumpton (1999-02) -- 116 (43 G, 30 A)
2. Kacy Beitel (1997-00) -- 114 (44 G, 26 A)
3. Amber Berendowsky (1996-99) -- 113 (40 G, 33 A)
4. Nkem Ezurike (2010-Present) -- 111 (46 G, 19 A)

• Thirteen different players have recorded at least one goal this season (last: Shelby Chambers-Garcia vs. Ohio State) and 16 different players -- more than half the roster -- have recorded at least one point.

• The Wolverines are 6-2 in matches decided by one goal this season and 13-0-0 when scoring the first goal of the match (2-2-0 when an opponent scores first). In addition, Michigan has scored more than one goal in 13 of its 15 wins and has not yielded more than one goal in any contest all season.

• Fifth-year senior defender Holly Hein was announced as one of the 10 national finalists for the 2013 Senior CLASS Award on Oct. 16. Fan votes will be combined with media and Division-I head coaches' votes to determine the winner. Fans can vote once per day until Nov. 25. The winners will be announced during the 2013 NCAA Women's College Cup in December. [ Release | VOTE ]

• Seniors Holly Hein and Shelina Zadorsky were named Capital One Academic All-District Five second team selections last Thursday (Oct. 31), announced by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA). [ Release ]

OPPONENT PREVIEW

Iowa
Iowa finished the regular season with a 13-5-1 record, including a 5-5-1 mark in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes finished with 16 points -- same as Illinois and Wisconsin -- but dropped to the seventh seed by virtue of losing head-to-head matchups against both schools during the regular season. Iowa has a +11 scoring margin (32 GF, 20 GA) and is tied for fourth in the Big Ten in shots per game (16.84). The Hawkeyes have a balanced offense, as seven players have three or more goals, led by Cloe Lacasse (6 G, 7 A). Other top offensive players include Ashley Catrell (5 G, 5 A), Melanie Pickert (5 G, 4 A), Alex Melin (4 G, 2 A), Anne Marie Thomas (4 G, 1 A) and Bri Toelle (3 G, 3 A). Hannah Clark has played every minute in goal this season for Iowa, making 62 saves with a goals-against average of 1.03.

Series: U-M is 14-2-2 all-time against Iowa, including a 2-1 victory in Iowa City earlier this year (Sept. 22). Seniors Nkem Ezurike and Kayla Mannino scored in that contest.

LAST TIME OUT
Seniors Shelby Chambers-Garcia and Nkem Ezurike scored second-half goals in a 2-0 victory over Ohio State in the regular-season finale last Saturday (Nov. 2) at U-M Soccer Stadium. Freshman goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin made seven saves for her ninth shutout of the season. [ Recap | Highlights video icon | Photo Gallery Photo ]

UP NEXT
Monday, Nov. 11
-- NCAA Tournament Selection Show (NCAA.com), 4:30 p.m.

Contact: Brad Rudner (734) 763-4423


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