The Michigan Daily - SportsMonday - September 27, 1999 - 58
Michigan soccer defense handles top scorers
scores in overtime for,
first win of weekend
Iowa's Sarah Lynch and Illinois' Emily
Brown manage just
one goal against Blue
By Dan Williams
Daily Sports Writer
The Michigan soccer team's
defensive unit 'made a statement to
the rest of the Big Ten this week-
end: Capitalize on your opportuni-
ties, because there won't be many
An amazing goal by Illinois
sophomore Emily Brown was all
that prevented the Wolverines from
shutting out its weekend opponents.
In a 2-1 overtime victory against
the Illini and a 2-0 win over Iowa,
Michigan's youthful defense was
able to keep opposing scoring
chances to a bare minimum.
Michigan plays a four-man
defense, with freshmen Amy
Sullivant and Andrea Kayal playing
right and left fullback, respectively.
They have to guard opposing wings
on the sidelines.
Sophomore sweeper Alissa
Shaw is in charge of keeping the
play in front of her. She is apt at
reading potential through balls and
deterring the threat. With this style
of defense, senior stopper Shannon
Poole has more room to roam on
offense and defense.
Despite the fact that the defense
features mostly underclassmen,
inexperience has not been a prob-
"A lot of teams take us for grant-
ed because we're so young and they
think we're inexperienced," Shaw
said. "But we've come together, and
we don't let anyone by us."
Illinois came into the game
ranked No. 15, and Brown is one of
the Big Ten's top offensive threats.
The Michigan defense matched up
man-to-man with the Illini's three-
forward attack and stopped most of
Illinois' chances to score.
"It was tough following them
around all game," Sullivant said.
"But we did a great job, and held
them to just a few opportunities."
Poole was often in charge of
staying with the speedy Brown, but
the whole team was instrumental in
"As she made her runs, we did a
lot of switching," Shaw said. "It
kept her out of her game."
Iowa also features one of the Big
Ten's top goal scorers in freshman
forward Sarah Lynch. Lynch aver-
aged more than a goal per game
As of Sept. 20
Team Pts, Prev.
1 Santa Clara 300 1
2 North Carolina 279 2
3 Florida 276 T4
4 Nebraska 271 3
5 Penn State 246 T4
6 Notre Dame 231 6
7 Hartford 220 7
7 USC 220 10
9 Texas A&M 216 8
10 BYU 191 11
11 Richmond 155 20
12 Georgia 147 17,
13 UCLA 146 15
14 Baylor 134 14
15 Illlinois 121 21
16 Wake Forest 106 -
17 Virginia 98 25
18 Boston College 78 23
19 Loyola Marymount 73 -
19 Duke 73 9
21 Iowa State 66 24
22 Michigan 52 -
23 Stanford 48 22
24 Missouri 37 19
25 William & Mary 33 -
Also receiving votes: Southern
Methodist, Clemson, San Diego,
Harvard, Boston University, Ohio State
"You can score as many as you
can," Shaw said. "You're not going
to win games unless you have great
The inexperience question
seems to be in the background.
Michigan's defense has demonstrat-
ed that it can work together to dom-
inate a game, and it has propelled
the team to the top of the Big Ten
standings with a 3-0-1 conference
Classic sports wisdom says that
championship teams are built upon
defense. If that's the case,
Michigan is in contention for the
Big Ten championship.
"We're giving up less and less
goals," Shaw said, we're coming
together at the right time, and we
definitely could win the champi-
Continued from Page 1B
eliminated any doubt of the outcome
when she put the Wolverines ahead 2-
0. Marie Spacarotella and Schmitt
assisted on the goal.
"We've done better and better
each year against this team and we're
still trying to build forward with our
program," Iowa coach Stephanie
In only its third year, Iowa still
has a lot of work to reach the level
that Belkin has set in her six years at
Friday night's 2-1 win over
Illinois was a greater challenge for
The overtime game ended with a
powerful strike by freshman sensa-
tion Abby Crumpton in the eighth
minute of extra time.
Illinois striker Emily Brown
opened the scoring by kicking a side
volley from the top of the goal box in
the 41st minute. The ball avoided the
out-stretched arms of Michigan goal-
keeper Carissa Stewart.
Up to that point, neither team cre-
ated any notable attack. The score at
half-time was 1-0.
Midway through the second half,
Michigan started to show some life.
Illini goalkeeper Amy Bessette let a
30-yard lob drop into the net, but the
referee ruled that a Michigan striker
interfered with the keeper. Despite
the ruling, the play sparked a wave of
scoring opportunities for the
Wolverines. Michigan tied it up in the
84th minute when senior Kacy Beitel
received a Crumpton pass with here
back to the goal, turned around and
The game appeared ready to go
into overtime. But suddenly, a
Schmitt shot caromed off the cross-
bar to Beitel, who blasted thi
rebound into the empty net. The
Michigan players rushed towards
Beitel in celebration.
But to the Wolverines surprise,
play continued. Apparently, the rcfer-
ce disallowed the goal because Beitel
was offsides. Regulation ended with
the score 1-I.
With a record of 3-0-1 in its past
four games, the Michigan soccer
team has set the standard for the rest
of the Big Ten.
Despite the recent success, Belkin
still believes that there is room for
"I still don't think that we have fit
our potential," Belkin said. "We s611
have got a long way to go. Hopefully
we will peak at theright time."
Hoff showed a bit more confi-
"We had been struggling a little
bit, but we are starting to finish our
chances," Hoff said. "I think that we;
can definitely win the Big Ten."
Kacy Beitel helped the Michigan effort against two Big Ten foes this weekend.
Wins against Illinois and Iowa earned the team a spot on the Coaches poll.
coming into the contest, but didn't
get a shot on goal against Michigan.
"We didn't give them any room
at all to shoot or even dribble,"
One of the main reasons the
Wolverines were able to slow down
two of the Big Ten's stars is because
of their quickness.
They were faster to the loose
balls, and neither Lynch nor Brown
had much success trying to beat
people off the dribble.
"We're very quick," Shaw said. "
I'm confident we can keep up with
anyone trying to run a break away."
Junior goalie Carissa Stewart,
another key element to Michigan's
stellar defense this weekend, is in
charge of keeping the defense in an
"Carissa is a great leader," said
Sullivant. "She sees things we don't
see and she's there to cover for us."
But the defense wasn't just
effective on Michigan's end of the
field. When Michigan had the ball
in the opponent's territory, the
defense did a good job of keeping
the ball in the offensive zone.
They contained most of the clear
attempts by the other team's
defense, and redistributed the ball
to the midfielders and forwards.
This is one of the main reasons why
Michigan has outshot all but one of
their opponents this season.
Michigan has outshot their
opponents 197-104 in nine games.
This is partly because of an explo-
sive offense, but it also illustrates
that Michigan's defense is smother-
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