HomeMichiganThe highs and lows of the Michigan women’s soccer season
The highs and lows of the Michigan women’s soccer season
November 2, 2022
The Big Ten tournament started its first round on Sunday night while the Michigan women’s soccer team (7-8-3 Overall, 2-6-2 Big Ten) watched from home on the couch, finishing 11this in the Big Ten. The season that started full of promise ended in chaos as the domino effect of woes left Wolverines’ hopes dropped.
Let’s break down the ups and downs:
Junior midfielder Kacey Lawrence has proven her place in the starting line-up with her unflagging energy. In her previous two seasons, Lawrence spent a total of 787 minutes. This season, she recorded 1046 minutes, an average of 65.38 minutes per game.
“Gosh, that girl was on fire,” Michigan coach Jen Klein said on September 22 after a tie with Ohio State. “She is such a spark of energy, her ability to drive and have a single gear. A spark plug that just fires and goes out. She brought in amazing energy and brought us a really good chance. “
She was a breath of fresh air that was constantly rushing up and down the field, but never let fatigue slow her down. While the statistics don’t show Lawrence as the creator of the differences, scoring only four goals and four assists, her playmaking was invaluable.
The Wolverines struggled to find the net and were either excluded or held one goal in 12 out of 17 games. But it was not a lack of attempts by Lawrence, who scored 25 shots out of 14 on goal over the course of the year.
Lawrence’s admirable efforts this season could secure her captain’s armband for the upcoming senior season.
When senior defender Jayde Riviere announced a collegiate injury, the Michigan team looked at risk after losing their footing.
But the defense of the Wolverines reorganized the platoon and built a brilliant line without Captain Riviere.
Michigan has kept their opponents to two points or less in 14 games, and Wolverines to one point or not in 10 of them. And of the three games they allowed for three goals, two were against their top 25 opponents.
This iron defense was full of promising lower graders who had years of development ahead of them. Second student Tamia Tolbert and first student of the Anijah League proved that they can provide stability in the future.
And while the highs were encouraging for Michigan, they were not enough to offset the difficulties of the season.
The Wolverines ignited uncompetitive opponents, but that prowess did not survive against respected competitors. Michigan was blocked frequently, dropping out in eight games – almost halfway through the season.
Lawrence and seniors Lily Farkas, Sami Woods and Dani Wolfe tried to do their best to create online opportunities for their team with a constant wave of shots. The quartet gathered 25, 51, 43 and 21 years respectively. What the stats sheet doesn’t show is their incessant lobbying, crosses, volleys and going through the final third that the Wolverines failed to capitalize on.
“We have to be more consistent in our discipline in the details,” said Klein on September 1 after losing to Iowa. “I think we have very, very good, shiny moments and then we have some where we’re just not selected.”
And those glittering moments flashed soon.
Michigan blew up Boston University, murdered mid-state Michigan, and painted Toledo. But these shows weren’t the most elite competitors as Toledo and Central Michigan merged into a disastrous 4-21-11 record.
The highlight of the season came when Wolverines got upset at number 14 Rutgers, 3-2. However, the rest of the conference fights against Big Ten painted a nasty picture, with Michigan having been shut down seven times and ended with only two conference wins.
One thing is clear: you can’t win if you don’t score. And neither did Michigan.
Individually, the team was full of great players who put on great performances, but this is a team sport. Graduate Izzy Nino saw significant time between the goal posts for the first time in her career, Wolverine. But defense and its new leader had problems with overlapping. After five years of playing under Hillary Beall, there had to be an adjustment period.
“As a team, we are still creating and setting roles and responsibilities,” said Klein on September 1st. “There’s a bit of confusion, but we just need to find a way to make it work.”
The season of 17 matches wasn’t enough for all the pieces of the puzzle to slide into place.
Michigan kryptonite turned out to be a mistake on both sides of the ball.
Farkas crosses were often missed by three or four players in the penalty area. On the other hand, Nino was often throwing for the ball just as League knocked her out of the defensive third. The Wolverines could not have grown up to function as a cohesive unit.
After the worst full season in Michigan since 2017 – he took a step back before Klein took over as coaching. Season 2022 was the first full season of her time at the helm in which Wolverines failed to make a Big Ten tournament.
A few bright spots from the not-so-perfect show of Wolverines’ performances promise to be next season. But the falls tell a different story. The original Michigan ranking, No. 9, showed its potential, but after this year’s appearance, it will move to the 2023 season – most likely – without being ranked with many question marks.
After a disappointing season in the Wolverines books, they will have to prove themselves next year. They will have to prove that this season was a fortune, an unfortunate misfortune.