ANN ARBOR – Central Michigan lost to Michigan 2-1 overtime Saturday in Ann Arbor during the first round of the NCAA Women’s Soccer Tournament, ending its season.
The Wolverines had 60 seconds left in the second half to keep their heads above water in tournament play down 1-0 to the Chippewas, until U-M senior forward Clare Stachel scored her first goal of the year and tied the match 1-1.
“We knew we needed to score more than one goal coming into this game, because we knew Michigan had a good offense,” junior midfielder Tory Kinniard said.
U-M carried all the momentum into overtime play after tying it up. Less than a minute into overtime, the Wolverines nearly scored in the box, but CMU’s All-MAC first team goaltender Stephanie Turner came up with the stop.
U-M didn’t let up, though. At the halfway point of overtime, U-M senior midfielder Emily Jaffe dribbled her way through the defense and passed off to junior forward Nkem Ezurike, who scored the game-winning goal.
“We knew Central was a physical team,” U-M head coach Greg Ryan said. “We knew we were going to have to battle, fight and scrap. We knew it wouldn’t be pretty.”
CMU scored its first and only goal two minutes into the match taking an early 1-0 lead. The goal came off a long throw in from senior MAC Defensive Player of the Year Bailey Brandon, into the box to sophomore All-MAC first team forward Laura Gosse, who would put into the back of the net.
For the first 89 minutes and 20 seconds of the match, Turner shut out a potent U-M offense that scored 36 goals this season, which is the highest goal total in the program since 2005.
“Turner is a first-rate goaltender,” CMU head coach Neil Stafford said. “But in a game like today’s, it’s hard to single out individual performance. You need a team to play against Michigan, and I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Both teams coming into this game were defensive powerhouses in their own respected conferences. The Chippewas entered the weekend with twelve total shutouts – a MAC best. The Wolverines have only allowed 15 goals in 21 games and are led by redshirt senior Haley Kopmeyer, who was named Big Ten Goalkeeper of the Year.
CMU’s senior class finishes the 11th winningest class in NCAA Division I history, according to collegesoccer360.com.
The team ended its season 15-7-1, finishing first in the MAC West with a 9-2 conference record and second in the MAC tournament.