The second day of the MASC regional tournament took place on a sunny Sunday and Michigan’s first challenge was against long-time regional rival, the University of Illinois, in a quarter-final match between two of the top ranked teams in the Midwest.
From the kick-off both teams demonstrated why each club deserved to be regarded so highly; and Michigan appeared to be shining particularly bright in the first half. After 38 minutes of great, competitive soccer, the Wolverines pulled ahead when senior, David Farber, hit a driven ball across the Illini goal face and Lawrence Mullen punched the ball into the back of the goal for his 8th of the season. The remainder of the match saw great action at both ends of the pitch. In the end, it was Michigan that lived up to their reputation and emerged as the victors of this well-fought battle.
With a victory in the quarter-finals, Michigan faced another great challenge just two hours later when they were to play the University of Cincinnati Bearcats in the semi-finals and for the title of 2015 MASC Regional Tournament co-champions.
As expected, both teams showed great heart and effort in the early stages of the game. Michigan; however, looked just a step behind the Bearcats. Only moments before the first half came to a close, Cincinnati capitalized on a Michigan defensive breakdown to take a 1-0. Despite this, the Wolverines rallied during the half time and looked to their incredibly deep and talented bench to provide the needed extra effort to close the deficit. Finally, in the 66th minute, a Michigan striker was taken down in the Bearcat’s box and Michigan was awarded a penalty kick. The Wolverines looked to veteran midfielder, Jeff Woolstrum, to even the sides, which he did with a beautifully placed shot into the bottom left corner. The officials; however, called for a re-kick, purportedly witnessing a Michigan player enter the box before Jeff had taken the kick. Again, despite all of the pressure and the previous questionable call, Jeff stepped up to the ball and, this time, blasted the ball into the very top right corner of the goal to level the sides at 1-1. The remainder of regulation time saw both teams create quality chances on frame, but full-time came to a close with the sides tied at 1-1 and headed for a golden-goal overtime.
The Wolverines were fired up. Suddenly legs felt lighter, soreness was ignored, and every member of the team rallied around one goal: win. With that mentality and their commitment to preserving their unbeaten record, the Wolverines barely allowed Cincinnati to settle into the first overtime period. It was only in the 2nd minute of overtime that senior striker, Reid Davison, picked up a loose ball, broke through the Bearcat defense, fired a shot into the Cincinnati goal, and sent the Michigan bench on a 60 yard sprint across the field to celebrate their new title as 2015 MASC Co-champions.
This represents only the second time that Michigan has won the regional tournament in the tenure of head coach, David Hebestreit, and the first time for head coach, Steven Bodei. The tournament win also solidifies Michigan’s spot as the number one seed at the NIRSA National Club Soccer Tournament, which will be played November 19-21 in Phoenix, AZ.
The challenging road to a the national tournament began on a rainy afternoon in Westfield, IN for the University of Michigan. With strong winds and unrelenting rain, the Wolverines were set to face off against two formidable opponents in Group D.
First up was Northwestern University. From the kick-off the Wolverines looked incredibly well-organized and proceeded to introduce the rest of the MASC to their brand of soccer. With an overwhelming majority of ball possession, it was only a matter of time until Michigan's build eventually broke down the Wildcat defence and frequent goal-scorer, Lawrence Mullen, rifled a loose ball in the Northwestern box into the back of the opponent's goal, giving Michigan the early lead. With their post-season dreams on the line, the Wildcats played with great intensity, but it was the Wolverines that were destined to be the victors in this match. That fate was solidified in the 70th minute when, from 35 yards out, sophomore midfielder, Hunter Mejaly, scored what could be the goal of the season, with an absolute rocket of a shot into the bottom left side of the Northwestern goal.
With their victory over Northwestern, and a previous tie for Northwestern to other Group D foe, UW-Madison, Michigan had already secured a place in the knock-out stage of the tournament. Their next match against UW-Madison; however, would determine their position coming out of the group.
With their spot secured, the Wolverines faced a talented team in UW-Madison, whose fate was still in jeopardy. Unfortunately for Michigan, several early mistakes made for a steep uphill battle against the Badgers, including conceding the first goal of the game in only the 5th minute off of a Michigan defensive mistake. Fortunately, senior goalkeeper, Drew Rickelmann, played one of the best games of his career, turning away several point-blank and break-away shots in order to keep the Wolverines within one goal. With a quick change in personnel and challenge of character at halftime, the Wolverines came out in the second half looking much more lively and determined to protect their undefeated record on the season and advance as Group D's winners. Eventually, Michigan did find the back of the goal when UW-Madison's goalkeeper misplayed a ball that landed at the feet of, Reid Davison, who calmly slotted it past the Wisconsin keeper to tie the game 1-1. A few more chances for each team ensued in the final moments of the game, although neither team was able to find the go-ahead goal and for the second time in a row, Michigan and UW-Madison tied.
Their group round record of 1-0-1 is good enough to advance Michigan to Sunday's knock-out round as the top seed from Group D where they will meet the University of Illinois at 11:00 am. With a national tournament berth on the line for both clubs and a long history of great and competitive games between the two sides, this is a match-up that the entire region will be watching.
For all updates and information on Michigan's progress this weekend, be sure to follow our Facebook page.
It was a frigid evening in Ann Arbor and the Michigan State Spartans were in town for the final regular season match and Senior Night for the Wolverines. And as anticipated, the game was an absolute pleasure to be a part of.
With over 200 fans, Mitchell Field was louder than ever before! And the fans had a lot to cheer about during the first half as Michigan played a beautiful brand of soccer; maintaining possession of the ball even when under pressure and creating great scoring opportunities. To the credit of the Spartan goalkeeper; however, Michigan was unable to find the early lead. Instead, it was Michigan State that opened the scoring when a loose ball on top of the Wolverine box was fired into the back of the goal. Nevertheless, the Wolverines stuck to their game plan and continued to impress with creative passing and inspired efforts on defence. Eventually, in the 43rd minute, freshman striker, Lawrence Mullen, ran onto a ball from Austin Harms and slotted the ball past the Spartan goalkeeper to tie the game at 1-1 going into halftime.
As if caught sleeping, the Wolverines conceded an early second-half goal (47') when Michigan State forwards ran right through the Michigan defence. The rest of the second half played out similarly to the first: Michigan maintaining possession of the ball and trying to breach the wall of defenders that Michigan State had set-up in front of their goal as they tried to hold on to the lead. Finally, with only 14 minutes left in the match, it was, once again, Lawrence Mullen who dove head-first to redirect a driven cross from Ty Gilhuly, to bring the Wolverines back level on the night. Ultimately, this was the last scoring play of the match and both teams walked away with one point each with the 2-2 tie.
The tie brings the regular season total for the Wolverines to 7-0-3, which is good enough for second place in the MASC Central Division. With regular season play in the conference being wrapped up this Sunday, the Wolverines wait to learn who their opponents will be in the MASC Regional Tournament group play, which begins next Saturday in Indianapolis, IN.
We hope that you will continue to follow and support us on Facebook; we will certainly continue to update our page and this site with all the game details and recaps. If you would like more information on the tournament next weekend, visit the tournament website.
Finally, thank you again to all of our friends, fans, and family for your support throughout the entire regular season. Nowhere else have we experienced fans as passionate and enthusiastic as you.
Here we come Indianapolis!
In a last minute call, Ball State University forfeited Sunday's match against the University of Michigan Men's Club Soccer team, with facility issues as the purported reason.
With the forfeit, Michigan moves to 6-0-2 and continues their 2015 campaign on Tuesday in Ypsilanti, MI when the Eastern Michigan University Eagles host the Wolverines in both teams' penultimate match. Michigan will then wrap up their regular season when they host in-state rivals, Michigan State on Friday, October 16 (9:00 p.m.) on Senior Night.
Friday night saw the first ever night game at Mitchell Field played by the Men's Club Soccer team as they hosted the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. In a match that could solidify either team's fate in the MASC regional tournament in 2 weeks, it was important for Michigan to have a great warm-up and get off to an early lead.
And Michigan did just that. In only the 2nd minute of the game, frequent goal scorer, Connor Pollock, redirected a corner kick whipped into the Notre Dame box by Hunter Mejaly into the Notre Dame goal and gave the Wolverines a very early 1-0 lead. The rest of the first half saw a great battle between two skilled teams but remained at 1-0 for Michigan when the half-time whistle was blown.
By the time the second half started, Michigan was playing in front of about 200 fans and much like the way that the first half began, the Wolverines got off to another incredible start. Just 5 minutes into the second half, freshman, Lawrence Mullen, ran onto a brilliant ball played through to him by graduate student, Christian Vazquez, and tapped the ball around the rushing Notre Dame goalkeeper to put the Wolverines ahead 2-0. From here, it was a valiant effort on defence by Ryan McDougald, Connor Pollock, Vince Bruno, and David Mintz, as Michigan denied wave after wave of attack by the Fighting Irish. Finally, with only 7 minutes to play in the match, Michigan ran away with the game when sophomore, Hunter Mejaly, was taken down in the opponent's box for a penalty kick, which he converted to bring the final score to 3-0.
With their goals, all three goal scorers bring their season tallies to 3 goals each, while the Wolverines improve to 5-0-2 and significantly improve their chance of obtaining a regional tournament berth.
Next up, Michigan travels to Muncie, IN to take on Ball State University on Sunday, October 11 (2:00 p.m.). The following week, the Wolverines close out their regular season when they visit Eastern Michigan University on Tuesday, October 13 and then host in-state rivals, Michigan State on Friday, October 16 (9:00 p.m.). This will also represent the last game that our senior members will play at home in front of our incredible fans, so be sure to come out and support and thank them for their commitment over the years. And be sure to stay for a brief presentation at the end of the match as we honor them.
This past Sunday, the Michigan Wolverines faced a great test as they hosted both the Butler Bulldogs and Purdue Boilermakers in back-to-back competitions in MASC regular season action.
The day began off quite slowly, seeing Michigan and the Bulldogs compete in a sloppy contest at Mitchell Field. It was; however, Michigan that emerged as the 3-0 victors in this first match (goals scorers: Connor Pollock [14'], Hunter Mejaly [52'], and Josh Deuel [75']).
Less than 2 hours after the final whistle had gone for the Butler match, Michigan were again lined up, this time opposite to the visiting Purdue Boilermakers, who currently sit at the top of the table (Michigan: 2 games in hand). Unlike the morning's contest, this match was all Michigan--all except for goals. Despite dominating Purdue in every statistic, Michigan were just unable to breach the compact Purdue defence and earn a goal. Even as the game was in it's final moments, Michigan freshman, Lawrence Mullen, narrowly missed two great opportunities to put the Wolverines ahead and send Purdue away with their first loss. At the final whistle, the game remained scoreless and both teams left the field having earned one point each with the tie.
With these weekend's results in the MASC, Michigan are set-up to battle this Friday, October 9 (8:00 pm; Mitchell Field) against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame in a contest that could solidify a spot, for either team, in the conference tournament later this month. The Wolverines will then travel to Muncie, IN to take on Ball State University on Sunday, October 11. For more information on this Friday's home contest, visit our Facebook event page. Be sure to come out and support the Wolverines in their first ever night match at Mitchell Field in this critical contest.
It was gray skies over Ann Arbor as Michigan hosted the Grand Valley State University Lakers in a battle of two Central Division heavyweights.
And in the first 10 minutes, the Lakers seemed to be the better of the two teams. While not creating any quality chances on the Wolverine's goal, GVSU played with great vigor. Shortly thereafter; however, Michigan took control of the game and capitalized on a chance in the 25th minute when sophomore, Ethan Cartwright, buried a loose ball in the 6 yard box into the back of the GVSU goal. Only 12 minutes after taking the lead, Michigan was, for the second match in a row, faced with a penalty kick called against them. Much like the week before; however, junior goalkeeper, Graham Keep, denied the GVSU kicker and kept Michigan ahead going into halftime.
Two very different teams re-emerged for the second half: GVSU had found a spark somewhere and were playing much like they opened the contest, while Michigan looked like a more direct team, straying from their normally possession-focussed brand of soccer. Unfortunately, in the 56th minute, Grand Valley put the ball past the Michigan goalie and leveled the sides at 1-1. Less than 10 minutes later, on a very similar play, Grand Valley pulled ahead as they, once again, scored off a set-piece played into the Michigan box. At this point, and rightfully so, the Grand Valley bench and supporters were ecstatic. But only 4 minutes later, sophomore defender, Connor Pollock, silenced the visiting team and crowd when he redirected a crossed ball into the back of the GVSU goal to tie the game at 2-2. The remainder of the game saw a great contest, with both teams fighting for that deciding goal. Ultimately; however, as these two teams have done for the past 2 years, the game ended in a draw.
With this result, Michigan moves to 3-0-1 and remains in pursuit of the top of the Central Division table.
Next up, Michigan faces a double-header on Sunday, October 4 when they play Butler University (12 pm; Mitchell Field) and Purdue University (4 pm; Churchill High School [Livonia]). Be sure to come support your Wolverines in these contests and follow us on Facebook for updates, weekly promotions, and information on upcoming matches.