6A - Thursday, October U7, 2013
The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.cam
6A - Thursday, October17, 2013 The Michigan Daily - michigandailycom
ignites off the bench
By BRAD WHIPPLE
Daily Sports Writer
This late in the women's soc-
cer season, it's harder to substi-
tute bench players into games
since the stakes are too high in a
BigTengame to experimentwith
unproven players. Against No. 17
Penn State on Sunday, Michigan
coach Greg Ryan started junior
defender Keyana Thompson-
Shaw anyway. She had only
played one game this season, but
the experiment paid off.
"I would say she performed
at 100 percent (against Penn
State)," Ryan said. "I didn't think
she could last 90 minutes, and I
said, 'If you get tired, just let me
know and we'll get a sub in for
you.' That hand never went up."
Sunday, the matchup between
the 12th-ranked Wolverines and
the Nittany Lions ended in a
1-0 shutout for Michigan with a
goal from senior midfielder Tori
McCombs. The win by the Wol-
verines (4-1-1 Big Ten, 10-2-1
overall) put them in second place
in the Big Ten standings and
quenched their thirst for revenge
by defeating the team that oust-
ed them in the third round of last
year's NCAA Tournament.
Ryan said the contest was one
of the most defensively challeng-
ing games Michigan has played
this season as it held the top
scoring offense in the conference
without a goal. Penn State (4-2,
10-3-1) outshot the Wolverines
21-7, but Thompson-Shaw's per-
formance on defense was critical
to the team's success.
"It just shows how hard she's
been working every practice all
year," said senior defender She-
lina Zadorsky. "To be able to step
into arguably one of our hardest
games and perform like that on
the spot is what we needed from
her, and she was able to deliver."
Despite only playing one
game this season prior to Sun-
day, Thompson-Shaw is familiar
with the Nittany Lions' style. She
has had five career starts, three
of which were in Happy Valley,
including last year's loss i1 the
"I think once you go for a pro-
longed period of time without
playing you do have to person-
ally keep your positivity up,"
Thompson-Shaw said. "I was a
little nervous going in, but I did
play last year and I had the sup-
port of my team around me to
pick me up."
When Thompson-Shaw took
the field, her focus was to cover
senior forward Maya Hayes, the
Nittany Lions' leading scorer
with 13 goals. Hayes's speed has
been a huge challenge for her
opponents' defense and allowed
her to easily get behind teams'
back lines and create scoring
Thompson-Shaw shut down
Hayes by holding her to only one
shot on goal. With Shaw putting
pressure on Hayes in the 18-yard
box, Zadorsky and fellow seniors
Christina Murillo and Holly
Hein had an easier time protect-
ing the back line. Ryan said that
took the defense to another level.
As the Wolverines closed the
passing lanes and put pressure
on Penn State's attack, the Nit-
tany Lions were limited to seven
shots on goal that were all saved
by freshman goalkeeper Taylor
Bucklin, who was named Big Ten
Defensive Player of the Week on
But it was Thompson-Shaw
who endured 90 minutes of non-
stop defense against one of the
conference's most unstoppable
performance put Michi-
gan's defense in sync, making
McCombs's goal all that was
needed to earn the first shutout
Though he rarely throws her
in the lineup, Ryan said Thomp-
son-Shaw is the best individual
defender on the team at stopping
strong forwards and will be used
for certain matchups. With her
senior year looming around the
corner, Thompson-Shaw might
find herself starting more often.
"Maybe I need to give that kid
some more time," Ryan said. "We
wouldn't have won that game
Former Michigan goalie Haley Kopmeyer had her Big Ten hopes dashed by Christine Nairn, but as teammates on Seattle Reign FC, the two lived together.
Once foesformer Michigan,
Penn State players share a house
By JAKE LOURIM
Daily Sports Writer
Last year was former Michi-
gan goalie Haley Kopmeyer's
last shot at the Big Ten title she
came to Michigan to win. Late
in the season, she went into
State College needing a victory.
It was the 86th minute. Former
Penn State forward Christine
Nairn drew a penalty kick.
Nairn converted, and Michi-
gan's goal of a Big Ten title
would have to wait.
If you follow Michigan wom-
en's soccer, you know the rest:
Penn State clinches its 15th
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straight Big Ten title with a tie,
the Nittany Lions earn home-
field advantage through the
third round of the NCAA Tour-
nament, then beat Michigan ina
Just outside Seattle this sum-
mer, Kopmeyer and Nairn, the
two Big Ten rivals, set aside
their collegiate roots.
They played four years each
at Michigan and Penn State,
compiling two of the most illus-
trious careers in the history of
their schools. They moved 2,000
miles west. And then they lived
together for six months.
Teammates on the Seattle
Reign FC of the National Wom-
en's Soccer League, Kopmeyer
and Nairn, both 2012 graduates,
shared an apartment this sum-
"We talked about it a lot,"
Kopmeyer said. "This was our
common bond to begin with.
It was definitely a topic, whose
school is better, a little bit of
smack talk here and there, but
nothing too mean."
When they were drafted in
January, they didn't know much
about each other, even after
playing against one another for
four years. They had gone to a
camp together before college.
Then, Kopmeyer sent a Face-
book message to Nairn asking if
she wanted to live with her..
They found an apartment 10
minutes from the training facil-
ity. But the situation didn't come
without its occasional Michi-
gan-Penn State debates.
"We're both the type of peo-
ple where we know we can joke
with each other," Nairn said.
"When we dish it out, we can
take it. It's all in good fun."
The two have moved out
since the end of the season last
August. Kopmeyer now lives
in San Diego and trains with a
goalkeeping coach in prepara-
tion for next season in April. She
was waived last year because
she backed up Hope Solo, who
happens to be the starter for the
U.S. Women's National Team.
Nairn lives and trains in State
College and called the women's
soccer game between Michigan
and Penn State for Big Ten Net-
work on Sunday.
Though now living 3,000
miles apart, the two anticipated
the rivalry game when their for-
mer teams played Sunday.
"We joked about it a lot, the
Penn State-Michigan thing and
always playing against each
other," Kopmeyer said. "There
were times when even in prac-
tice, our coaches could see it....
They thought it was funny, and
they could tell that there was
definitely a rivalry there."
The stakes were high as
always this year, with Michigan
needing a win to stay in the Big
Ten race and Penn State needing
a win to stay in contention for its
16th straight conference cham-
In the end, the Wolverines
came out with the narrow victo-
ry, something they hadn't done
against Penn State since 2002.
"Going down in penalty kicks,
especially the way it happened
when we were up, that was
hard," Kopmeyer said. "I was
cheering (Sunday) like I was on
It's so fun to see how far this
team has come. I'm so proud and
happy to have been a part of it.
I realize that a lot of my time
there was spent growing as a
team and rebuilding and putting
together (Michigan coach Greg
Ryan's) vision, and it's really
here now. I couldn't be happier
for those girls."
Kopmeyer said she and Nairn
talked back and forth on social
media about the game. She
posted a picture last Wednesday
of Nairn holding Kopmeyer's
dog in a Michigan collar. Nairn
replied with a picture of her four
Big Ten championship rings.
"I know the Michigan girls
all knew about it, and they were
like, 'Don't worry, girl, we got
your back,"' Kopmeyer said.
They likely won't room
together again nextyear because
Kopmeyer may be playing for a
new team. Still, both enjoyed
living together this summer.
"Haley's hilarious," Nairn
said. "She's so smart. Sometimes
she's making fun of me, and I
have no idea that she is."
Michigan and Penn State
will continue to wrestle with
the conference lead along with
The Wolverines are two
points back in the standings,
while the Nittany Lions are
three. They could meet again in
the Big Ten or NCAA Tourna-
other than that, the rivalry
will be put to bed until next
year, when Kopmeyer, Nairn
and their schools will start it up
all over again.