Aug. 20, 2008
The 2008 Wolverines will sport a new coach, a new home and a new look. Former U.S. Women's National Team coach Greg Ryan was named the program's second head coach on February 7, 2008. Michigan will open a new soccer facility this season, playing home games at the U-M Soccer Complex. The three-field facility provides individual practice fields for both men's and women's programs in addition to the game field.
The Wolverines return their top scorer in sophomore Amanda Bowery and fellow 2007 Big Ten Conference All-Freshman team member Jackie Carron. The Michigan freshman class received the top ranking in the Big Ten Conference and a No. 16 ranking nationally from Soccer Buzz. The incoming class, which includes five top-200 prospects, was also tabbed as the second best in the Great Lakes Region.
Ryan will team up with his former assistant coach at Wisconsin, Dean Duerst. The two are no strangers to the Big Ten, owning 259 victories with the Badgers between them. Assistant coach Jessica Stamp and volunteer coach Keith Jarema round out the new coaching staff.
Despite returning Bowery, the Wolverines lost much of their offense of a year ago due to graduation. U-M will look to returning senior Danelle Underwood and sophomore Stephanie Crawford to provide diversity to their offense and create space for each other and Bowery. Freshmen Clare Stachel and Kristen Goncalves, junior Brittany Magee and sophomore Jill Ferree will all have an opportunity to make an impact in the upcoming season.
The Wolverines midfield remains relatively intact for the 2008 campaign. Senior co-captains Kristin Thomas and Katie Miler return to provide a strong presence in the midfield. Sophomore Niki Moran was sharp in limited playing time in 2007, setting up a goal within five minutes of making her collegiate debut. Ryan will have plenty of options to install in the midfield between four freshman midfielders and returnees Lyndsay DeCarolis and Alex Jendrusch. The freshman group is made up of Meaghan Hennessy, Natalie Horner, Courtney Mercier and Kelsey Rogind - the 90th-ranked prospect according to Soccer Buzz.
The backline, long a strong point for the Maize and Blue, returns a strong batch of players for the 2008 campaign. Carron was named team Most Valuable Player last season in addition to a Soccer Buzz All-America third team nod. Juniors Kylie Neschke and Amy Klippert bring a breadth of experience and the diversity to play in the back or in the midfield. Senior Skylar Andrews has 42 career starts on the Wolverine back line despite exclusively coming off the bench in 2007. The depth on the rear-guard continues with sophomore Caroline Zambricki and freshman Kim Siebert who can provide a late boost off the bench.
Senior Madison Gates had a strong 2007 campaign, playing in all but one game last season. Gates posted three shutouts, including two against teams in the top ten. Gates also had two blankings against Big Ten foes, silencing then-No 8 Purdue and Northwestern in a pair of 0-0 ties. Sophomore Kristen Keane and freshman Haley Kopmeyer will vie for playing time as the back-ups to start the season. Kopmeyer, the 88th-ranked prospect according to Soccer Buzz, was a member of the U.S. U-18 National team this past summer under the direction of Duerst.