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November 25, 2013 - Image 12

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-11-25

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4B - November 25, 2013

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com

48 -.oebe 5 01 h Mcia Diy- ihgndiyo

Ryan's optimism pays off

Daily Sports Writer
It was a bad loss, and Michigan
coach Greg Ryan was still happy.
Twelve days ago, the Michigan
women's soccer team suffered a
1-0 loss to the Big Ten's No.7 seed,
Iowa, in the first round of the Big
Ten Tournament. The Wolver-
ines had beaten the Hawkeyes in
the regular season and then lost
their chance at a tournament title.
Ryan was ... happy?
Some coaches nitpick and find
something wrong with every one
of their teams' performances.
Ryan does the opposite, even after
his team loses a game it shouldn't.
In Michigan's first loss this
season against Butler, he said it
did its best to handle the Bull-
dogs' five-defender formation. In
its second loss against Minnesota,
he said it had the majority of the
chances. In its third loss against
Iowa, he said it would get to
rest instead of playing two more
His players are listening to his
"You have to not just want it,
but believe that you can do it,"
senior midfielder Meghan Toohey
said. "That's what makes a good
team a great team - knowing on
the field that you're going to win."
Ryan is nothesitant to exagger-
ate, either. After the team's sec-
ond exhibition in August, he said
freshman goalie Taylor Bucklin
was already where graduated
four-year starter Haley Kopmey-
er was in her third or fourth year.
Perhaps the only reason he hasn't

called record-breaking goal
scorer Nkem Ezurike the best
player he's ever coached is that he
coached Abby Wambach on the
U.S. Women's National Team.
Then, as he sat in the men's
locker room at U-M Soccer Sta-
dium on Saturday after the Wol-
verines' impressive, but expected,
3-0 victory over Illinois State, he
made two more proud statements.
"I would coach this group of
players for the rest of my life if I
could," Ryan said. "I would never
make another change. I would
just keep these guys. To me, that's
the most rewarding thing.
"I think we've had a lot of
great games this year, and games
where certain parts of our team
were just outstanding, butI think
tonight was maybe the most com-
plete game we've played all year
Sunday, when the Wolver-
ines clinched a berth in the Elite
Eight, was the best day in Ryan's
six years at Michigan.
These glowing statements may
be heat-of-the-moment exaggera-
tions. Except one thing: they're
Sunday, the Wolverines chased
Notre Dame all over, pressur-
ing them into submission. At one
point, the Fighting Irish con-
trolled the ball deep in their own
half, until Ezurike and sopho-
more forward Corinne Harris ran
at them and forced them to kick it
out of bounds. When Notre Dame
lost a player to a red card in the
70th minute, Michigan took full
The Wolverines were devas-

Michigan coach Greg Ryan has kept Michigan even throughout the season.

From Page 1B
Friday, Michigan (9-1-1 Big Ten,
18-3-1 overall) completed a 3-0
shutout victory over Illinois State
before adding another with a 1-0
victory over Notre Dame on Sun-
It was Michigan's first meeting
withthe FightingIrish (7-5-1ACC,
13-8-1) since 2008, when the team
suffered a 7-0 loss in Ryan's first
game as the Michigan coach.
Michigan scored within the
first five minutes of its last two
games, but it took until the second
half toetally againstNotre Dame. A
corner kick broughtthe ball inside
the 18-yard box, where it touched
the hand of a Fighting Irish player,
earning the Wolverines a penalty
Senior midfielder Meghan
Toohey emerged from a group
huddle and stepped up totake the
shot. She took one step and nudged
a slow-roller into the bottom right
of the net. The goalie didn't even
"Toohey has been our most
consistent finisher," Ryan said. "I
had 100-percent confidence that
she was going to score."
The lone goal was all the Wol-
verines needed to earn their 12th
shutout victory this season, a pro-
gram record. But Michigan kept
trying to capitalize nonetheless,
and outshot the Fighting Irish,
Though normally efficient, a
frustrated senior forward Nkem
Ezurike couldn't get a good touch
on the ball and missed five shots
on goal. When freshman forward
Madisson Lewis was tripped on a
breakaway, the Wolverines earned
another penalty kick, but Ezurike
missed left of the net.

Meanwhile, Notre Dame
couldn't create many quality
chances. Its best chance at put-
ting Michigan in a deficit came in
the ninth minute when midfielder
Morgan Andrews rocketed the
ball off the crossbar.
The Wolverines relied on their
defense to put the game away.
Freshman goalie Taylor Bucklin
needed to make just four saves.
"We have maybe the best
defense in the country," Ryan said.
Michigan's triumph over the
Fighting Irish ties its season win
record at 18. The Wolverines have
gone 10-0 at home in the NCAA
Tournament all-time.
Before facing Notre Dame,
Michigan first had to go through
Illinois State (6-0 Missouri Valley,
14-7-1). The Wolverines blanked
the Redbirds on Friday night, 3-0.
Michigan's first goal came just
two-and-a-half minutes into the
game. Sophomore Midfielder
Christina Ordonez lofted the ball
to freshman forward Madisson
Lewis, who headed the ball to the
far post right over the hands of
goalkeeper Aryn Newsom.
After 45 minutes, Michigan
wasn't satisfied with the one-goal
advantage, and Ezurike fixed that
five minutes into the second half.
She received a pass on the end line
from Toohey, turned to her right
away from a defender, and struck
the ball with her left foot, scoring
from an almost impossible angle.
The goal made Ezurike the pro-
gram's all-time points leader with
Just 13 minutes later, senior
defender Holly Hein added an
insurance goal by heading a cor-
ner kick from Zadorsky into the
left side of the net.
"You can't be content," Hein
said. "You have to keep going at

tated on Sept. 29 after a 1-0 loss to
Minnesota, a team that went on to
be the No. 8 seed in the Big Ten.
The Wolverines took 18 shots, but
only five were on goal and none
went in the net.
But Ryan kept their heads
up and encouraged them, and
Michigan won its next eight
games, inserting itself back into
the Big Ten race. Then came the
loss to Iowa, which, to the play-
ers, seemed like a setback after
the Wolverines came in with title
aspirations. But to Ryan?
"I had to try and act really dis-
appointed after the game, but I
knew that it would give us a tre-
mendous opportunity to recover
physically and mentally," he said.
He was right. Michigan is back
in midseason form, the only Big
Ten team left standing heading
into the Elite Eight. The last time
Michigan played Notre Dame

was 2008, Ryan's first season,
when the Fighting Irish ham-
mered Michigan, 7-0. Ryan said
the team ate breakfast Sunday
and was sure it was going to win.
It showed on the field.
This success is Ryan's goal, no
matter what he has to do or say.
When asked Friday about his for-
mation, he gave a vague answer.
"I don't know what we're play-
ing," Ryan said. "Sometimes it's
a 4-5-1, sometimes it's a 4-3-3,
sometimes it turns into a 4-4-2."
Added senior defender Holly
Hein: "One time, I think it was
just, 'Go."'
For now, Ryan will stick with
his optimism, because it has his
team packing itsbags for Charlot-
tesville, Va. What he does know is
this: Michigan is in the Elite Eight
for the first time since 2002, and
that's not an exaggeration.

The Daily football writers do their best Michigan beat
to predict, against the spread, what Zach Everett Matt Liz reporter at
Helfand Cook Slovin Vukelich ESPN.com
happens in the 2013 football season.
No.tAlabama(-49)vs.Chattanooga Chattanooga Alabama Aloaoma abama Alabama
No. 2 Ftordia State (-58) vs. Idaho Idaho Florida State Idaho Idaho Idaho
No.3 OhioState (-34.5) vis.lndiana Indiana indiana Indiana Oho State Indiana
No.4 Baylor (-10) at No.10Oklahoma State Baylor Baylor Oklahoma State Baylor Oklahoma State
No.5Oregon(-21)atArizona Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon Oregon
No.7 Clemson (-40) vs. Citadel Clemson Clemson Clemson Clemson Clemson
No.8Missouri(-3)atNo.24Mississippi Missouri Missouri Missouri Mississippi Mississippi
No.9 Stanford (-31.5) vs. Cal Cal Stanford Cal Stanford Stanford
No.11 South Carolina (-34.5) vs. Costal Carolina South Carolina Southtanroina South Carolina South Carolina Coastal Carolina
No. 12Texas A&M (+4.5) at No. 22 LSU Texas A&M Texas A&M LSU Texas A&M Texas A&M
No.13 Michigan State (-7) at Northwestern Michigan State Michigan State Michigan State Michigan State Northwestern
No.14 UCLA (+3) at No.17 Arizona State UCLA UCLA Arizona State UCLA UCLA
No.15 Fresno State (-31.5) vs New Mexico New Mexico Fresno State FresnoState New Mexico Fresno State
No. 16Northern Illinois-3)at Toledo Northern Illinois Northern Illinois Toledo Northern Illinois Northern Illinois
No.18CentralFlordia(-17)vs.Rutgers Rutgers CentralFlorida RutgerR Rutgers Rutgers
No.19 Wisconsin (-16.5) at No. 25 Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Minnesota Wisconsin Minnesota
No.20Oklahoma (+45)at Kansas State Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma Oklahoma
No. 21 Louisville (-24.5) vs. Memphis Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville Louisville
No.23 USC (-22.5)lat Colorado USC Colorado USC USC Colorado
Iowa(-6)vs.Michigan Michigan lowa Michigan Michigan Michigan
llinois (-7) at Purdue llinois Illinois Purdue ilinois
Penn State (-2) vs. Nebraska Nbraska Nhraska Nebraska Nehraska Pen State
hivWeek 1-t11 14-7 14-71 -13 10-11
Overal 154131t146-139 169.1116 149-136 10-11


Each week, Daily sports staffers fill out ballots, with first place votes receiving 10 points, second place
receiving nine votes, and so on.
1. ALABAMA (27): We heard they 6. OKLAHOMA STATE: Yeah the
picked up a good recruit last week. Cowboys beat Baylor, but Tony
Phew. It's about time they caught Romo will just blow it in the
a break. playoffs when it counts.


Seminoles allegedly beat Idaho
3. OHIO STATE: Ohio State could
still be jumped by Baylor, because
Baylor has more quality losses.
Stupid Buckeyes don't have any.

7. CLEMSON: Oh my darling,
oh my darling, oh my darling
8. MICHIGAN: LOL nope.

4,.AUBURN: Trailers are already 9. MICHIGAN STATE: Somehow
lined up for the Iron Bowl, proving still behind Michigan, because
you have lots of free time when yeah.
you're unemployed in Alabama.
S. MISSOURI: Henry Josey and 10. BAYLOR: We want(ed) Bama!
the Pussycats have made the rest
of the SEC sing their praises.




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