ANN ARBOR, Mich.- Last year the Michigan Wolverines were an NCAA National Tournament semi-finalist. This year they were 0-4 heading into Friday night’s showdown with the visiting, 0-3 Marshall men’s soccer team.
With both squads planning to avoid defeat for the first time in the 2011 season, the stage was set for a fierce encounter, but unfortunately for the Herd, it was the host Wolverines who landed the strongest blow in a closely-contested battle.
Fabio Pereira – scorer of Michigan’s only two goals prior to this game – once again gave the Wolverines an offensive threat, scoring the game’s only goal just twelve minutes into the second half. Pereira’s lone strike of the game proved to be all that Michigan needed, and everything the Herd wishes it had. So far Marshall is scoreless through the first four games of the season, and the team was once again outshot by its opposition, this time by a 14-9 margin.
Even though his efforts have been in vain, junior Tom Jackson continues to lead the Herd in shots, as he tallied 4 against Michigan for a total of 12 on the season. Junior Eddy Prugh, who had 2 shots against Michigan, is second on the team with 7 shots for the year.
Preseason All-Conference goalkeeper Daniel Withrow and his defense held firm for a majority of the match, but despite posting a game-high 7 saves, Withrow and company allowed Pereira to sneak in for the score after a Marshall defender’s slip presented the sophomore midfielder with an easy chance. For Withrow and the rest of his teammates, there is disappointment in the fact that three of the Herd’s four losses have come by slim, 1-0 scorelines.
“We felt like we played well enough to get a result tonight against a fired up Michigan squad,” said Assistant Coach Thomas Olivier. “We certainly had good looks at the goal, but again the ball just didn’t go in. We made a bad mistake on their goal, but we competed well throughout the game, and now we need to get right back on the horse and get ready to compete against a good Michigan State team on Sunday.”
Marshall can take some joy, though, from the fact that its difficult season-opening schedule – which will have seen the Herd play four of its first five games on the road by the time it plays Michigan State on Sunday – is coming to an end. The Herd will host back-to-back home games against Oakland University and Winthrop University on the 16th and 18th of September, respectively, but the Herd will look to first beat Michigan State this Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in East Lansing, Mich.