The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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SEPTEMBER 2016 THE WOLVERINE 73 BY BRANDON BROWN AND BRANDON JUSTICE G reg Ryan's women's soccer team kicks off the official start to the 2016‑17 sports year by hosting Pittsburgh Aug. 19. The football team will get the big countdown for the fall sea‑ sons, but before any action starts on the gridiron, women's soccer, men's soccer (Aug. 26), volleyball (Aug. 26), field hockey (Aug. 27), and men's and women's cross country (Sept. 2) will all have competitions under their belts. Here is a look at each of the six Olympic Sports teams set to compete during the next few months, includ‑ ing their Big Ten and NCAA potential. WOMEN'S SOCCER First Game: Aug. 19, vs. Pittsburgh. Big Ten Predicted Finish: Top five. NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Sweet 16. Coach's Expectations: "We're going to give it everything we have with the group that we've got," head coach Greg Ryan said. "If we can get healthy, I think this can be a very, very good team. I think we can challenge for the top spot in the Big Ten. "We were down seven potential start- ers for our game against No. 4 Virginia and still had a chance to win that game. I think the players are really embracing the fact that we have challenges. We are going to get after it no matter who is stepping out on the field." Top Players: Redshirt junior forward Ani Sarkisian had seven goals and three assists last year, but she'll have to do a lot more in 2016 due to the absence of junior forward Taylor Timko (out with a knee injury), who also netted seven goals last year. Senior forward Nicky Waldeck, who was second in Big Ten two years ago with 12 goals but dropped down to just three last season, is ex- pected to increase her production in her farewell campaign. "There are a lot of players we're count- ing on and Ani is one of our top players, for sure," Ryan said. "We don't really have one player we are really relying on, but we certainly have high expectations for Ani. "We really have six or seven players we are hoping to step up. Nicky Waldeck is another player we're counting on be- cause we know she has the potential to score a lot of goals." Athlete To Watch: Sophomore Reilly Martin started just six games as a true freshman, but managed to find the net twice and also assisted on five goals. Her 835 minutes in 2015 will come close to doubling this year because of her grow- ing abilities, but also out of necessity. "Reilly is a great goal scorer and she plays right next to Ani," Ryan said. "She has come back a completely different player this year. She went home and worked on her fitness and is one of the fittest players on the team now. She is covering so much more ground and has really been making an impact. "If Reilly continues to maintain the kind of performance that she has, she's going to get a lot of minutes and she'll do really well for us." Don't Miss: Michigan will host pre- season No. 10 Rutgers Sept. 29.   OLYMPIC SPORTS GEARED UP Michigan's Six Fall Olympic Sports Teams Are Preparing For Success On Their Respective Fields, Tracks and Courts Redshirt junior forward Ani Sarkisian was named first-team All-Big Ten in 2015 after starting all 21 games and finishing tied for first on the team with 17 points. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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