Aug. 26, 2004
The University of Michigan women's soccer team begins its 11th season of varsity competition in 2004. U-M, which finished last year 11-8-6 overall and 4-2-4 in the conference, listed No. 16 in the 2003 final National Soccer Coaches Association of America/adidas national rankings.
The Wolverines will suit up for 2004 with high ambition after earning victories in eight of their final 11 games last season to earn trips to the Big Ten Conference Tournament final and the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. During the run, Michigan knocked off rival Michigan State 2-1 in overtime before closing out the season with a thrilling 3-2 upset of then No. 2-ranked Notre Dame on the road. One week later, the Wolverines traveled to the Big Ten Tournament in Madison, Wis., and picked up two solid victories over Ohio State (2-1) and Wisconsin (1-0) to reach the final against Illinois.
Although Michigan could not overtake the Illini in the championship game, losing 2-0, the Wolverines' strong showing did earn them their seventh consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. Michigan picked up a pair of 1-0 wins -- over Oakland and then No. 4-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., -- before bowing out in the third round to eventual runner-up Connecticut 5-0 in Storrs, Conn.
Head coach Debbie Rademacher begins her 11th season at the helm of the U-M women's soccer program after compiling a career record of 129-74-19 in her first 10 seasons. 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 seven consecutive NCAA Tournament trips, including a trip to the Elite Eight in 2002 and the Sweet 16 in 2003. Rademacher has coached four NSCAA All-Americans, 19 NSCAA All-Region honorees, 32 All-Big Ten first- or second-team picks and 73 Academic All-Big Ten recipients.
With five letterwinners lost to graduation, including 2003 leading scorer Stephanie Chavez (15 points), Michigan will look to its youth to help lead the charge in 2004. U-M added nine freshmen to its roster in the off-season, earning the 13th best recruiting class in the nation according to Soccer Buzz. U-M enters the season with 17 returning letterwinners and nine returning starters.
The Wolverines welcome 10 new faces to the team this season. Midfielder/forward Jamie Artsis, midfielder Sarah Banco, midfielder Katie Bohard, forward Melissa Dobbyn, midfielder Carrie LaCroix, midfielder Lindsey MacDonald, defender Kandice McLaughlin, goalkeeper Emily Michalek and goalkeeper Lindsay Yakel make up Michigan's incoming freshman class, while sophomore Dory Gannes will join U-M as a backup goalkeeper.
And in Net ...