The Wolverine

December 2012

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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NCAA TOURNAMENT: SOCCER make it this far, wasn't supposed to take all-mighty Penn State to the wire. Yet, here they were, just one overtime penalty kick away The Michigan women's soccer team wasn't supposed to Men's And Women's Teams Both Finish Strong from a spot in the NCAA Tournament Elite Eight. One goal from a momentous upset, a potentially program-defining win. The Wolverines fought the fifth-ranked Nittany Lions to a 1-1 tie through regula- tion of the Sweet 16 showdown in front of a raucously pro-Penn State crowd at State College, Pa. "[Fifth-year senior goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer] did a great job," Michigan head coach Greg Ryan said. "Penn State created some great chances, and Haley made some big-time saves. Those are normally goals for Penn State. the teams' fates rested on penalty kicks. Kopmeyer — who made an incredible 10 saves, compared to Penn State goalie Erin McNulty's four in regulation, includ- ing a toe-save on a late-game breakaway that would have won it for Penn State — turned away the Nittany Lions' first two shooters. On the other end, junior midfielder Meghan Toohey and junior forward Nkem Ezurike netted the Wol- verines' first two chances. With a 2-0 lead, Michigan was on the After two scoreless overtime periods, " brink of victory. But the Nittany Lions snuck all three of their remaining kicks past Kopmeyer. Freshman forward Lulu Haidar, junior defender Shelina Zadorsky and redshirt junior defender Holly Hein all misfired. Hein's shot was the Wolverines' final chance. When McNulty turned it away, Hein immediately covered her face and Nittany Lions fans stormed the field in celebration. "I don't know if I could ask more of my Fifth-year senior midfielder Clare Stachel netted three goals in the NCAA Tournament. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS teammates," fifth-year senior midfielder Clare Stachel said. Stachel netted the Wolverines' lone goal in regulation, when she took a penalty kick after Ezurike was fouled in the box. After battling injuries all year and not scoring a goal in the regular season, Stachel netted three in the NCAA Tournament — the tying goal in against Central Michigan with 40 seconds left in a 2-1 overtime win, the game winner against No. 24 Portland State in the second round and one against Penn State. "It shows her grit, "They laid it all out on the line. Penn State is a great team. We knew it was going to be a battle the entire game. But every single person on that field fought and left everything on the field. " her more in sync with the rest of the lineup, and she was huge for us. She refused to give up. She stuck with it, and in the end she was brilliant. " " Ryan said. "As she got healthier, we got Clearly, the loss to the Nittany Lions was a difficult one, but it does not discount what the Wolverines did this season. Michigan won 16 games, the program's most victories since the 2002 season, and made it out of the first round of the NCAA Tournament for the first time since 2003. "How far we've come in five years, hav- ing a number of losing seasons to mak- ing the Sweet 16 and being that close to the Elite Eight against one of the best programs in the country, is unbeliev- able, winning is a lot more fun than losing. And this group of girls put it on the line every game. " Kopmeyer said. "It's no secret that "We were penalty kicks away from the Elite Eight — and you never know what can happen in that situation. This is a big step for us. It sets the standard ex- ceptionally high, but sometimes, you just have to stop and smell the roses, be- cause what we did this year was special. The Michigan men's soccer team had "I'm so proud of this team," Ryan added. " " an equally — if not more — improbable run to close out the season. With three games left in the regular season, the Wolverines had compiled a 5-8-1 record. But they tore off three consecutive wins to close out the regu- lar season, including a resounding 1-0 win over archrival Michigan State, and stormed into the Big Ten Tournament. The Wolverines avenged regular-sea- son losses to Wisconsin, 1-0, and North- western, 3-0, in the tournament to earn a spot in the Big Ten championship game, where they fell, 2-1, in overtime to Michi- gan State. Michigan's late-season resurgence was coach Chaka Daley said. "I thought Akron played well there early in the second half, which proved to be the difference in the game. They outplayed us, maybe not in possession, but definitely quality. It's a little bit unfortunate and our guys are down a little bit for sure, but there will be better years ahead for us going forward. "Obviously disappointed with the result," Michigan head goals in Michigan's final eight games of the year, posting four shutouts during that stretch. "As a new coach coming into a new situation and to get ac- Redshirt sophomore goalie Adam Grinwis allowed just six " climated to a new staff, I think our guys have grown by leaps and bounds this season," Daley said. "This definitely wasn't the bottom of the roller coaster, but we were climbing and climbing as Akron was at the top of coaster, and there will be better days for Michigan soccer for sure. " — Andy Reid DECEMBER 2012 THE WOLVERINE 81 enough to nab an invite to the NCAA Tournament, where the Wolverines beat Niagara, 3-1, before falling to No. 1 Ak- ron, 2-1, in the second round.

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