The Wolverine

September 2016

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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74 THE WOLVERINE SEPTEMBER 2016   OLYMPIC SPORTS MEN'S SOCCER First Game: Aug. 26, at South Florida. Big Ten Predicted Finish: Top five. NCAA Best- Case Scenario: First round. Coach's Expectations: "Entering the campaign, we have a depth of quality and experience in our defensive po- sitions, highlighted by our goalkeep- ing and central defense," head coach Chaka Daley said. "Numerous regulars who have earned their stripes in past seasons [are back]. "Our offense is balanced with youthful quality as well as excitement in our at- tacking positions." Top Players: Junior goalkeeper Evan Louro is one of the best shot-stoppers in the Big Ten after putting up a goals- against average of 1.05 last year, good for No. 2 in single-season history at U-M. Sophomore forward Francis Atua- hene scored 10 goals last season, was voted Team MVP and was also named Big Ten Freshman of the Year. Senior midfielder Brett Nason led the team in minutes last year and is a co-captain. "I expect a lot of maturity and leader- ship out of Evan this year," head coach Chaka Daley said. "He obviously has a lot of ability and I expect him to com- bine that with a lot of upperclassman leadership as a junior. "He should be a role model in the net for the up-and-coming keepers behind him. We have a freshman keeper who is extremely talented and it's up to Evan to set the tone there and be a role model so that the lineage of goalkeep- ers continues to grow here at Michigan. "Brett is important because he's a mainstay. We very rarely take him off the field. He doesn't do anything flashy and you don't notice him much but he does all of the dirty work so everyone else can flourish. "He's a very important piece of the puzzle and has grown into that role. He didn't play much in his first two years and then last year he played more than anybody. He's matured nicely and is the consummate team guy. He'll be solid and consistent day in and day out." Athlete To Watch: Billed as a top player and an athlete to watch, At- uahene is just a true sophomore but should be one of the most electrifying offensive players in the Big Ten. One of the faster players in the conference — if not the fastest — Atuahene should eclipse his 10 goals from last season. "We just want more of the same to be honest," Daley said with a chuckle. "He had a great freshman year in all facets. He adapted really well socially, academ- ically and soccer-wise. Positionally, he'll have a little bit of a change because he's going to be more of a focal point and he'll get more time. "That'll be an adjustment for him be- cause he's no longer an unknown en- tity. He's known and people are going to be planning around stopping him." Don't Miss: Michigan vs. Ohio State Oct. 21 and Michigan vs. Maryland Oct. 30 could determine the overall Big Ten landscape. FIELD HOCKEY First Game: Aug. 27, vs. North Carolina. Big Ten Predicted Finish: Top three. NCAA Best-Case Scenario: Final Four. Coach's Expectations: "We have a very versatile team," head coach Marcia Pankratz said. "A lot of depth on our at- tacking end, with a lot of speed, players who can shoot and score, and players that understand and work hard on the press and can play together in different roles. We feel good about playing with a high-tempo style. "Defensively, it'll be a young back- field. We had a very veteran and out- standing backfield last year, so there are some big shoes to fill back there. But we feel confident that several younger players got some good expe- rience last year and will be able to step in and step up." Top Players: Goalkeeper Sam Sw- enson led the nation with a .837 save percentage and ranked second nation- ally with a 0.78 goals-against average last season as a sophomore, which earned her second-team All-America honors from the National Field Hockey Coaches' Association. In the process, she became the first All-American goal- keeper in Michigan program history. Junior Katie Trombetta is moving to center back after ranking second on the team last year with eight goals, in- cluding a team-high five game winners, Sophomore Francis Atuahene was named the Big Ten Freshman of the Year and first-team all- conference last year. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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