It was a beautiful weekend for club soccer and a great opportunity for the Michigan seniors to win one last time at home.
But first, coming off of three home wins and combining for 16 goals, Friday night had the Wolverines face-off against a difficult opponent in Notre Dame on the road. After an energetic warm-up, Michigan kicked-off, kept possession, and found weaknesses the the Fighting Irish flanks early on. It didn't take long for the Wolverines to finally capitalize when freshman midfielder, Danny Kim, found the back of the goal to open the scoreline and net his 5th goal of the season in only four games. Notre Dame responded with a great effort, fighting to catch up in the score and be the first team to put one past the Wolverines this season. Unfortunately, with only fifteen minutes left, the Irish did make the best of an out-of-position Wolverine defence and tied the game 1-1. Despite several last minute attempts, Michigan was not able to regain the lead and left South Bend, IN with a draw.
Sunday afternoon saw the Wolverines back at home for their last home competition of 2016 against Ferris State University. After dropping two points on the road two nights before, Michigan looked to secure the full three points against the Bulldogs and send their seniors off with a perfect home record on the year. Michigan quickly welcomed Ferris State to their home field when junior defender, David Mintz, made an overlapping run down the left flank, received a ball on the run, beat a Bulldog defender, and played the ball across for Austin Harms who redirected the ball into the goal to put the Wolverines up 1-0 in only the third minute. It was only 16 minutes later that Austin Harms, once again, beat the Bulldog keeper when he rifled a shot from 25 yards out with his left foot. The rest of the game went back and forth, with quality chances for both sides, but neither team converting on any, leaving the Wolverines with another win.
With the victory, the Wolverines improve to 4-0-1 on the season and remain undefeated against Ferris State University (9-0-0). Next up, the Wolverines enter a long road campaign beginning with a difficult away match against the Broncos of Western Michigan University on Friday, September 30, followed by a contest against the current co-leaders of the MASC Central Division on Sunday, October 2, when Michigan visits Purdue University.
Sunday was also special for several Wolverines as it was their last time competing at home for the maize and blue. The senior class finished their home campaign much the same way they started it over four years ago: as victors. In their four seasons (with many more games left in their current and final season), this Wolverines senior class put-up an impressive 30-4-12 record, making 2 MASC regional tournaments, winning 1 MASC title, and appearing in 2 NIRSA national tournaments. Perhaps more remarkable was Michigan's record at home during this class' tenure. At home, Michigan went undefeated (14-4-0), conceding only 5 goals and scoring 52 in four seasons. With an expected long road and a deep post-season ahead, the senior class looks to close their careers for Michigan by only adding to these stats and accolades. For now; however, we thank them for their commitment and for representing the block M with the utmost commitment, professionalism, and passion.
PJ DiNardo, Brett Wietecha, and Austin Harms are three of the seven 2016 seniors. Not pictured are: Reid Davison, David Farber, Graham Keep, and Jeff Woolstrum.