Soccer: U-M moves up to 15th in the nation; host two games this weekend

Movin’ on up…

The Michigan women’s soccer team moved up 12 spots in this week’s NCAA Women’s Soccer RPI to No. 15 after earning four points in a pair of exciting overtime matches on the road last week.

The Wolverines played to a 2-2 draw at Minnesota after freshman Sarah Stratigakis scored the game-tying goal with 11 seconds remaining in regulation. The Maize and Blue then upset No. 9 Wisconsin, 2-1, as junior Reilly Martin notched the game-winning goal in the 96th minute. The win gave Michigan its first victory over a top-10 opponent since 2014.

There are two chances to see the now top 15 Michigan women’s soccer team this weekend as the Wolverines host two Big Ten opponents with Iowa up first on Friday followed by Nebraska on Sunday. The Wolverines play the Hawkeyes at 7:30 p.m. on Friday. They host the Cornhuskers at 2 p.m. on Sunday.

Michigan has rebounded after losing its Big Ten opener 1-0 to Purdue. The Wolverines knocked off Indiana 2-1, tied Minnesota 2-2 and then defeated ninth-ranked Wisconsin 2-1 in overtime on Sunday in Madison.

Stratigakis was rewarded and awarded for her efforts on the road being named Big Ten Freshman Player of the Week for Sept. 26. The Woodbridge, Ontario, Canada native had a hand in three of Michigan’s four goals in a pair of overtime matches last week.

Against Minnesota, Stratigakis assisted on U-M’s first goal and scored the game-tying goal. And against Wisconsin, she assisted on the game-winning goal in the 96th minute to help U-M upset the Badgers.

The Wolverines’ success throughout the early part of the season has started along the backline. Michigan has allowed just nine goals through 11 games this season, for an average of .82 goals per game. The Wolverines have recorded four shutouts and held five opponents to just one goal.

A young midfield and a solid group of defenders have kept the Wolverines in the win column. And when the ball does get past the last defender standing, the goaltenders have stood tall keeping the ball out of the net at an impressive rate.

Senior goalkeeper Sarah Jackson leads the Big Ten in saves per game, averaging 6.4 per outing, and is also second in the conference in save percentage at .882. In 626 minutes of action, Jackson has allowed six goals, made 45 saves and contributed to two shutouts en route to a 1-1-3 record this season.

At the other end of the field, the Wolverines have been sharing the success.

Through 11 games, 10 different players have tallied points for Michigan, led by Stratigakis’ nine points on three goals and three assists. Martin (2g, 4a) and senior/junior Taylor Timko (3g, 2a) follow with eight points each. Sophomore Jada Dayne (3g) and junior Abby Kastroll (2g, 2a) have six points each. Taylor and Dayne give Michigan two defenders in its top-five offensive producers this season.

The Wolverines kick into the weekend in a four-way tie for third place in the Big Ten standings. Penn State (10 points) and Ohio State (9 points) are one and two, while U-M, Rutgers, Purdue, and Northwestern each have seven points. The Maize and Blue have gone to overtime in five of its last nine matches, going 1-0-4 in those outings. Michigan has played an additional 86 minutes of soccer this season, nearly totaling another full match.

Following this weekend’s matches, Michigan will have just one home game remaining in the regular season. The Wolverines host Illinois for the program’s senior day on Saturday, Oct. 21, at 7:30 p.m.

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