Aug. 22, 2006
The Wolverines look to return to the national stage in 2006 and earn their ninth berth into the NCAA Tournament in program history. The 2005 season had a promising start as Michigan opened up 5-2-2. U-M's two draws came at No. 23-ranked Kansas and at home against No. 6-ranked Texas A&M, while one of its two losses came at No. 5-ranked Notre Dame. Two road trips and a poor Sunday record doomed Michigan as it failed to reach the NCAA Tournament for the first time in nine seasons. Needing to win the Big Ten Tournament to earn the conference bid to the NCAAs, Michigan mustered up an impressive performance to advance past No. 1-ranked and undefeated Penn State in penalty kicks in the first round. The Wolverines then downed Illinois, who had defeated Michigan earlier in the season, 2-1. Facing Wisconsin in the final game, high winds and Big Ten Tournament MVP Amy Vermeulen proved to be too large an obstacle as the Wolverines fell, 3-1.
The Wolverines finished with an 8-9-4 record overall and placed eighth in the Big Ten at 3-6-1. Melissa Dobbyn earned All-Big Ten first team honors after posting 12 goals and eight assists for 32 points to lead the team as a sophomore. Skylar Andrews gathered All-Big Ten second team honors, and she was joined by Danelle Underwood on the Big Ten All-Freshman team. Katelin Spencer also represented the Maize and Blue, earning a Big Ten Sportsmanship award. Michigan graduated second-leading scorer Therese Heaton, who tallied 11 goals and six assists in 2005, along with Stephanie Boyles, Whitney Kjar and Katie Kramer.
Head coach Debbie Rademacher begins her 13th season as head coach of the U-M women's soccer program. A United States National Team member from 1986-1991, Rademacher has posted a 148-92-25 record in 12 seasons at U-M, including a 59-37-13 record in Big Ten play and two Big Ten Championships. Over that stretch, the Wolverines' program has exhibited steady growth; from an impressive Big Ten Conference Tournament semifinal finish in the inaugural 1994 season, to a pair of conference tournament titles in 1997 and 1999, the Maize and Blue has begun to expect success on the national level, with eight consecutive NCAA Tournament trips from 1997-2004, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2002 and the Sweet 16 in 2003. Rademacher has coached four National Soccer Coaches Association of America All-Americans, 20 NSCAA all-region honorees, 37 All-Big Ten first- or second-team picks and 93 Academic All-Big Ten recipients.
Building off of last season's Big Ten Tournament title run, the Wolverines look poised to return among the elite teams in the conference. The Maize and Blue welcome back 20 of 26 letterwinners from 2005 and will hope to build momentum going into a tough conference schedule as it hosts five of nine non-conference games. The non-conference schedule features perennial top-10 team Notre Dame, who comes to Ann Arbor on September 17 as well as No. 17-ranked Arizona. U-M opens the Big Ten schedule with a tough road match at No. 3 Penn State on September 24, but then returns home for four of six conference matches before ending the Big Ten slate with three straight road contests against key opponents Ohio State, Minnesota and Michigan State, respectively.
Michigan brings in six new faces in 2006. Alex Jendrusch, Amy Klippert, Brittany Magee, Katie Miler, Niki Moran, and Kylie Neschke will all join the Maize and Blue this season. Miler enters the year as a sophomore at U-M.
The Wolverines are set to suit up against five teams that are listed in this year's NSCAA/adidas preseason national rankings: Penn State (No. 3), Notre Dame (No. 5), Illinois (No. 13), Arizona (No. 17) and Purdue (No. 21).
The Wolverines return 2005 leading scorers Dobbyn, senior captain Judy Coffman and Underwood. Coffman and Underwood tied for third on the team in scoring last season with 14 points apiece. Coffman tallied six goals and two assists, while Underwood earned five goals and four assists. With the loss of Heaton to graduation, Michigan looks to captain Sarah Banco and Jamie Artsis to add an offensive punch as each enters her third season. Artsis scored once and dished out three helpers while patrolling the midfield last season and Banco had a goal and an assist in mostly a reserve role. Defender/midfielder Spencer will also be relied upon after posting four assists in 2005 from the back half. Juniors Lindsey MacDonald and Emily Kalmbach, sophomores Christina Paras and Sheera Goren and freshmen Jendrusch, Moran, Klippert, Miler, and Magee provide depth on the offensive side.
Michigan returns all four defensive starters from 2005 and adds 2006 NSCAA High School All-American Neschke. Senior captain Spencer and Andrews return after starting every game of the 2005 season. Seniors Brenna Mulholland and captain Lindsey Cottrell also return to boost a very experienced Wolverine defense. Mulholland played in 20 of 21 contests, starting 17 times, while Cottrell played in all 21 games, starting 19 times. In addition, U-M looks to Erica Gordy, who started the final four games of the season in 2005 as a freshman, including all three Big Ten Tournament contests. Senior Katie Bohard, sophomore Kristin Thomas and freshman Moran provide depth on defense.
And in Net ...
Michigan boasts a sturdy goaltending nucleus for the upcoming season as it returns senior and 2005 starter Megan Tuura as well as sophomore Madison Gates. Tuura went 7-6-3 with a 1.82 G.A.A. and made 89 saves in 2005. Gates played well when given the opportunity, including backstopping Michigan to a 1-1 tie against sixth-ranked Texas A&M in her first career game and compiled a 1.64 G.A.A. in six contests as a freshman. Junior Lindsay Yakel provides depth at the goalkeeping position.