2005 Big Ten Preview
Aug. 25, 2005
Michigan head coach Debbie Rademacher has high hopes heading into her 12th season at the helm of the U-M women's soccer program. Michigan will return 72 percent of its offense from last season, including leading scorers Melissa Dobbyn and Therese Heaton, and has a steady goalkeeper between the posts in two-year starter and All-Big Ten performer Megan Tuura. Rademacher is confident that this year's team is hungry and determined to contend for a Big Ten regular season championship and get back on track after an early exit at last year's NCAA Tournament.
Seven of Michigan's 18 regular-season opponents finished the 2004 season ranked in the top 25, including national champion Notre Dame. The Wolverines will look to use their home field advantage from start to finish, beginning with national powerhouses Texas A&M and Texas (Sept. 2 & 4) and ending with the Big Ten Tournament, which U-M will host for the first time Nov. 3-6. Other key home match-ups include Big Ten rivals Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan State.
With 17 returning letterwinners, including eight starters, Michigan will rely on its depth and experience to lead this year's team to new heights. With a solid incoming freshman class, which was rated the fifth-best in the Great Lakes Region by Soccer Buzz, the Wolverines have a number of youthful players that will challenge for time on the field.
Michigan will return forwards Dobbyn and Heaton, who combined for 49% of the Wolverines' offense last season. Dobbyn, a Soccer Buzz Freshman All-America honorable mention in 2004, will look to have another explosive season after leading U-M in goals (nine) and shots (89). Heaton, who ranks 11th on Michigan's all-time scoring list with 52 points and had a seven-game point streak last year, has a team-high 71 games of experience under her belt. The Wolverines will also look to senior Katie Kramer and sophomore Jamie Artsis to contribute on the offensive end. Kramer has 43 games of experience and 17 career points, while Artsis started all 22 games during her freshman campaign and earned Soccer Buzz Freshman All-America third team honors after scoring seven points on three goals and one assist. Freshman Danelle Underwood, Michigan's Gatorade Player of the Year as a senior, could make an immediate impact on offense upon her arrival to Ann Arbor.