The Wolverine

August 2014

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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Page 33 of 145

BY MICHAEL SPATH U nder head coach Greg Ryan, Michigan has taken the logical path toward re- alizing its goal of winning a national championship. The Wol- verines endured the early struggles associated with a change in leader- ship, going 10-19-10 in Ryan's first two seasons (2008-09) before achiev- ing some success in developing con- fidence for future gains by posting winning records in both 2010 and 2011, including an NCAA Tourna- ment berth in 2010. Climbing the ladder, however, be- comes more difficult, with each rung seemingly a little higher than the last, within reach but not easily attainable. In 2012, U-M went 16-5-3, placing third in the Big Ten and advancing to the NCAA Sweet 16. This past year, with greater aspi- rations, the Maize and Blue set or tied program records in wins (18) conference wins (nine), Big Ten finish (second, tying four other occasions) and NCAA finish (Elite Eight, tying 2002). But wanting to achieve is not as easy as snapping one's fingers. There is an arduous journey involved, and not every team can complete it. In 2013, the women's soccer team would realize its potential, pushing the limits of the program's capabili- ties, and for that, it has been named U-M's top women's team of the year. On Michigan's 2013 roster, seniors comprised seven of 29 roster spots (24.1 percent), yet the senior class was critical to the development of the program over the last four years from conference afterthought to Big Ten contender — the Wolverines finished fifth and eighth in the class' first two seasons and then third and second in its final two campaigns. Each of Michigan's seven seniors played in at least 74 games during their four-year careers, with defend- ers Shelina Zadorsky (81 starts), Scaling The heighTS The Women's Soccer Team Posted One Of The Strongest Seasons In Program History WOMEN'S TEAM OF THE YEAR SOCCER

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