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October 20, 2014 - Image 8

Resource type:
The Michigan Daily, 2014-10-20

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28 - October 24, 2014

The Michigan Daily -- michigandaily.com

Out of the spotlight, Ryan builds a powerhouse

Nearly 50,000 fans
watched Greg Ryan
make the decision that
changed his career forever.
In 2007, Ryan - then the U.S.
Team coach
- benched
his starting
in the
of the World {
Cup against ALEJANDRO
Brazil based ZUNIGA
on the
performance in practice.
The Americans lost, 4-0. The
ensuing scrutiny reached
national levels, and Ryan was
fired soon after the tournament.
The World Cup debacle had
been his only loss in 55 games
with the United States.
On Sunday, as the Michigan
women's soccer coach, Ryan led
the Wolverines into a crucial
game against Ohio State. A little
more than 1,000 fans showed
up. Earlier this season, Ryan had
decided to sit Taylor Bucklin, the
starter on last year's Elite Eight
team, in favor of a freshman,
Megan Hinz.
Michigan battled for a 2-2
draw against the Buckeyes.
Hinz made five saves, including
a couple sprawlingstops, to
ensure the result.
"(The switch to Hinz) worked
out pretty well. It's gone better
than the last one," Ryan said
with a laugh.
A lot has changed since 2007,
when Ryan was leading the
U.S. National Team into the
semifinals and benched Hope
Solo for Briana Scurry.
During his firstyears inAnn
Arbor, a tie against a Big Ten
rival would've been a cause for
celebration. Now, it's somewhat
of a letdown.
But it's not going to cost him

unquestionably in a better place.
Ryan refuses to look back at
the rebuilding process that has
seen the Wolverines become a
Maybe it's because of what's
in the past: Memories of being
ridiculed for a coaching decision,
losing one game, getting fired
and coming to a Michigan
program without a stadium, and,
as a result, without much ability
to woo recruits.
"I remember thinking,'Oh my
gosh, I don't think we can win
a game,' "Ryan said. "It's just
been a wonderful ride.
"I was thinking about it the
other day, when I was down on
the field. It's so nice to be here
(six) years later."
In the last two seasons under
Ryan, Michigan has reached the
Sweet 16 and Elite Eight. The
Wolverines had a combined 34-9-
4 record. They finished in the top
three of the Big Ten both years.
So after the Wolverines
surrendered a goal in the final
seconds of regulation Sunday
and tied Ohio State, Ryan
managed to crack a smile while
talking to his team.
He won't get fired for the
result. He can keep tinkering
and making adjustments that he
knows will usually work.
"It's likea dream come true,
really," he said. "I don't know
how someone could want more
than that."
It's a dream come true for
Michigan to have acoach who
can make changes that redefine
a program, even if it takes a
couple of tries.
The college game is a little
more forgiving than the national
team. Just the way Ryan likes it.
Zdfiga can be reached
at azs@umich.edu and on
Twitter @ByAZuniga.

Michigan coach Greg Ryan has guided the women's soccer team from the bottom of the Big Ten to a national power in seven years, and Michigan is thz

his job. Ryan hasn't just tinkered
with position battles; he has
been given the freedom to tool
with the entire program.
So on the sideline Sunday,
Ryan smiled and joked with
his assistants. Seven years ago,
he might've had to listen to
an entire country criticize his
lineup choices, or formation, or
coaching abilities. Now, he gets
to go home and relax with his
postgame snack of chips, salsa
and a Diet Pepsi.
It's not often a move to
Michigan includes a step closer
to anonymity. But Ryan likes
it. At Michigan, he's happy
and comfortable. And he has
produced unmistakably positive
After faltering in the
spotlight, sometimes it's nice to
succeed in the darkness.

Despite temperatures that
barely topped 50, there are three
drummers in the student section
at the Wolverines' game Sunday,
and Ryan can't help but think
how much things have changed.
In 2008, his first season in
Ann Arbor, he paid someone to
pound on a drum to artificially
create some semblance of a
soccer culture.
"We're lucky. I don't have to
show up and drum at my own
games anymore," he said. "We
just wanted to create some
atmosphere at our games. It was
our first attempt. It's alot better
There's new turf and a new
video board at U-M Soccer
Stadium, and there are plans to

expand the facilities further in
coming years.
But in the seasons before the
complex was completed in 2010,
the Wolverines didn't have a
place to call home. They played
games at Eastern Michigan or at
nearby high schools.
It wasn't that long ago that
the facilities and the fans
weren't there. The talent wasn't,
either. In 2008, Michigan
went 4-10-5. Only one person
in Ryan's first recruiting class
stayed all four years.
But Ryan tinkered with
styles and shuffled his coaching
staff. In 2010, he nominated
assistant Dean Duerst as the
new defensive coordinator.
Duerst had never specialized
in defense before, but the odd
move helped Michigan to the
NCAA Tournament. In 2013, the

best unit in program history got
Michigan to the Elite Eight.
"The factcthat what they built
from nothing, because really
there was not much here, and
.now they've built a really stable
foundation," Ryan said. "You
know it's a good culture, you
know it'sgood soccer. It's really
rewarding, and really feels great
to be apartof this program."
To the public eye, Ryan is soft-
spoken and stoic. He doesn't often
berate the referee or yell at his
own players in frustration. If you
were watching a game, it would
be easy not to notice himatall.
But it's hard to ignore the
program's transformation from
a Big Ten bottom dweller to a
perennial contender. It's hard
to ignore the real drummers
at the permanent home venue.
Because of Ryan, the program is

Non-call costs Harris

Harris taken down
in box, ref says no
foul in 2 OT
For theDaily
Even though he knew the
call wouldn't be reversed,
Michigan women's soccer coach
Greg Ryan still chased three
officials after the final whistle
in Sunday's game.
A non-call had just cost

didn't represent how dominant
Michigan's midfield was, or how
well Harris directed it.
Ryan insisted Harris was
tackled from behind just feet
from the goal in the fleeting
minutes of the second overtime
period, and the referee didn't
blow the whistle.
"Not to argue with the
referee, but that was clearly a
penalty there at the end," Ryan
said. "You have to make that
If she had been given the
penalty kick, it would've been

junior Cassie Collins, freshman
Niki Wilkinson and senior Jen
Pace have been strong all year.
"(Harris) creates problems
for every team we play against,
and I think she really stepped
up her game in the second half,"
Ryan said.
In a hard-fought second half,
Harris took control of the game
by distributing perfectly placed
balls to her attackers and taking
some quality shots of her own.
With 10 minutes left to play,
Harris fired a shot headed for
the top half that, were it not
for a great catch by Buckeye
goalkeeper Megan Geldernick,
could've been the difference-
maker for Michigan.
"We had some great
opportunities," Harris said.
"We were really pushing."
Ohio State's defense was
rattled by Harris, fouling
her multiple times before the
controversial final tackle even
took place.
"We had a great showing,"
Harris said. "Unfortunately
things didn't go our way."

his team an
penalty kick
against Ohio
State, and
cost one of
his players
a chance
to write a
ending to one
of her best
games of the
The officials
but only shookc
forcing the Wolv
for a 2-2 tie and
Corinne Harris
show for her
A Buckeyes'
Michigan of aN

a chance to
cap the clinic
she carried
"That was clearly on the rest of
a penalty. You "Corinne's
really the
have to make driving
force in our
that call." attack and
Ryan said.
"(She's) so
engaged Ryan, Teammates fed off Harris'
off his protests, intensity by upping their
verines to settle own game and exploiting the
I leaving junior weaknesses in Ohio State's end.
with little to "We're connecting more as a
commanding three, and a four, in the midfield
... and I think that really showed
goal with 45 today," Harris said.
gulationrobbed Ryan echoed this statement,
win. The score saying midfielders Harris,

Michigan scored with less than a minute remaining in regulation, but Ohio State answered 13 seconds later for the tie.
Wolverines settle for draw


For the Daily
A Michigan-Ohio State
matchup is never complete
without some controversy.
With the women's soccer
of the OHIO STATE 2
rivalry MICHIGAN 2
knotted at
two with about one minute left in
extra time, it appeared as though
junior midfielder Corinne Harris
was tackled from behind inside
the 18-yardbox.
The referee disagreed.
"Not to argue with a referee,
but that was a penalty kick there
at the end," said Michigan coach
Greg Ryan. "(Harris) dribbled
a player and then she's taken
down from behind. You have to
make that call."
And the non-call failed
to break the score, as the
Wolverines finished tied at 2.
After dropping a close game
to Penn State this past Thursday,
Michigan was looking to bounce
back on Senior Day against the
It was an even matchup for
the majority of the game as the
Wolverines (7-2-1 Big Ten, 11-4-
1 overall) and Ohio State (2-5-3,
5-8-3) had nine and seven shots
on net, respectively.

Michigan took a one-goal played it behind the net or we
lead with 58 seconds left in played it at the near post, and it
the match when sophomore was easily defended."
defender Anna Soccorsi found Michigan had trouble I
freshman forward Danielle defending its lead after
Hogarth inside the box. Hogarth Waldeck's goal as it conceded
took a header from five yards one less than five minutes later
out, which bounced past the to Ohio State midfielder Ellyn
Buckeyes' goalkeeper. Gruber off a header.
But Ohio State didn't go away, In the Wolverines' defensive
scoring just 13 seconds later off half, Ohio State forward
the restart. On the right side Nichelle Prince wreaked havoc
of the pitch on Michigan's
from 30 yards backline for
out, Buckeye the complete
forward "W e should have 110 minutes.
Sammy the
Edwards found done better with Wolverines'
midfielder defense
Nicole our service," contained
Miyashiro her enough
alone in the without
box, where she allowing her
headed it past Michigan freshman to get on the score sheet.
goalkeeper Megan Hinz. "We just made sure that when
It took 70 minutes for either we were playing around her
team to find a breakthrough to be safe and to make sure we
when sophomore forward Nicky were dropping far enough back
Waldeck headed home her team- so that we could swing the ball
leading 11th goal of the season around her," Soccorsi said.
off a corner from freshman Added Ryan: "I was really *
forward Taylor Timko. proud of the backline. (Prince) is
It was the only goal the a handful.
Wolverines converted out of 17 "I thought we did a really
corner kicks. good job of keeping her out of
"We should have done better the game, but the fact that she
with our service," Ryan said. didn't have a goal meant that we
"Several of them we either did a really good job."

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