After successfully earning a spot in the 2016 MASC Regional Tournament elimination round, the Wolverines entered their second day of competition to play against Loyola University of Chicago in one of the semi-final matchups.
Building on the momentum of a resounding victory the night before against Northwestern University, Michigan looked to attack quickly and establish an important early lead in this grueling competition. It was not until the 26th minute; however, that freshman midfielder, Daniel Kim, hit a 35 yard blast into the very top left corner of the Ramblers goal to put the Wolverines up 1-0. As half-time approached, it appeared that Michigan was going to enter the break with an important lead, but Loyola was able to equalize at the very last minute to send both teams to their benches tied at one. Second-half play was exciting. Both the Ramblers and the Wolverines battled for a go-ahead goal and the opportunity to move on to the finals. With only five minutes left to play in the game, it was Daniel Kim again who made a play leading to a goal for the Wolverines when he connected with senior forward, David Farber, who went in one-on-one with the Loyola goalkeeper and beat him to put Michigan ahead and send the Wolverines to their second MASC Regional Tournament final in as many years.
It was the Buckeyes from Columbus that Michigan met in the finals. Having played three matches in 24 hours both teams' players and benches were visibly tired and sore going into the competition. Rallying on pride and the hopes of repeating their 2015 championship success, the Wolverines jumped out to an early lead when David Farber redirected a crossed ball from Hunter Mejaly to put Michigan up 1-0 in only the 8th minute. The remainder of the game saw players bow out of the competition due to exhaustion and teams look deep into their rosters for players to step up and win the title. The final whistle drew nearer and in a desperate last-minute attempt, the Buckeyes flighted a ball into the Michigan box which bobbled loose to a free attacker who equalized the match with only seconds remaining in regulation time. With their lead erased in heart-breaking fashion, the Wolverines prepared for golden-goal overtime play and a dramatic finish to the finals. Unfortunately, it was the Buckeyes who capitalized on another loose ball in the Michigan box and scored the game-winning goal given them the victory for the day and the 2016 MASC title.
Nevertheless, Michigan's performance over the entire season places them in 3rd place in the Midwest region according to the Power Ranking system (http://midwestalliancesoccer.com/power_rankings). With that ranking, the Wolverines qualify for the NIRSA National Tournament on November 17-19, 2016 in Foley, AL and await their competition schedule. Several exhibition matches are tentatively scheduled for Michigan's national tournament preparation, stay tuned for updates from the Wolverines by following us on Facebook.