After what was probably the the most competitive year of tryouts, the University of Michigan Men's Club Soccer (UMMCS) team looked to open their 2014 campaign in Indianapolis, IN with a win against the Butler University Bulldogs.
Team vans left Ann Arbor at 6:45 am and arrived on Butler's campus with plenty of time for a great warm-up and it showed. The first half was a dominant display by the Wolverines, demonstrating their technical and tactical abilities. The very first play, from kick-off, saw a ball swung into the Butler box from the left side of the field, met by a Wolverine, only to be denied by the goalpost. Possession was also certainly a focus as the Wolverines had lengthy bouts of continuous possession during the first half. Finally, as the half was drawing to a close, center-back Vince Bruno took a ball at midfield and dribbled toward the Butler goal before striking a low shot that found its way past the outstretched arms of the goalie to put the Wolverines up 1-0.
The second half saw a tactical change by Butler which gave the Wolverines less time on the ball, yet Michigan was still able to maintain a majority of possession and, this time, create several great scoring opportunities. Nevertheless, great goalkeeping and some unfortunate bounces denied the Wolverines a second goal early on. As a result, the Bulldogs were able to remain optimistic and eventually found the back of the goal on a Michigan turnover deep in their own half. Nevertheless, the Wolverines stuck to their game plan and more chances on goal came. Finally, with a free kick deep in the Butler half, Australian native and wing-back, Connor McNamara, directed a beautiful cross into the back of the Butler goal to put Michigan back up 2-1. From here, it was an excellent display of team defence and Michigan held on to win the match with a final score of 2-1.
Having opened the 2014 season in Indianapolis, the Wolverines now look to continue to improve as a team so that in just over a month, they can return to Indianapolis and compete in the MASC regional tournament. But first, Michigan faces a pair of tough matches this weekend as they play host to the Western Michigan University Mustangs (Friday, September 19 8:00 pm at Huron High School) and the Central Michigan University Chippewas (Sunday, September 21 3:00pm at Mitchell Fields). Be sure to come out and support UMMCS, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, or check back here for weekly updates on the 2014 season.