A season in which the University of Michigan women’s soccer team just couldn’t find its groove for one reason or another came to an end on Wednesday with a tough 1-0 loss on the road to Rutgers.
The loss ended the Wolverines’ last shot at earning a spot in the Big Ten Tournament and marks the first time since 2011 U-M did not qualify for the conference tournament.
The Wolverines finished the season with a 6-6-6 overall record, including 3-5-3 in the Big Ten.
The Scarlet Knights outshot the Wolverines 10-2 in the opening half, including 4-1 in shots on goal. Michigan’s only shot on goal in the first half came in the 6th minute when freshman Sarah Stratigakis cut to her left foot in the middle of the box and got off a high shot that was saved by Rutgers goalkeeper Casey Murphy.
Rutgers scored in the 40th minute on a shot by Alaysia Lane from the top of penalty box that rattled off the inside of the left post and into the goal. It was the first goal Michigan senior goalkeeper Megan Hinz has allowed this season.
Hinz finished the opening half with three saves before senior Sarah Jackson came on in the second half to finish the match.
The Wolverines played much better in the second half, outshooting the hosts 8-7 but couldn’t find the equalizer. Rutgers leads the nation with 14 shutouts.
The Wolverines fielded a young team in 2017 bolstered by one of the top recruiting classes in the nation. Coach Greg Ryan went with an all freshman midfield that helped deliver an impressive 2-0 win over Washington in the season opener.
But injuries began to mount. As one player was set to return, another would go down. Michigan rarely had the starting lineup against Washington back on the field at the same time and never fully developed that chemistry on the field you need to succeed.
While the future looks bright, the Wolverines must be disappointed at not getting into the postseason right when they were finally starting to realize their full potential.