Michigan women's soccer one win away from NCAA tournament final four

  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
·3 min read
In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

No. 3 seed Tennessee entered its NCAA women’s soccer tournament Round of 16 matchup against No. 2-seed Michigan not having allowed a goal in nine nonconference games, including two NCAA matchups

It took the Michigan women's soccer team less than 15 minutes to end that run, as Sarah Stratigakis converted a feed from Nicki Hernandez in the middle of the box to get U-M on the board at U-M Soccer Stadium in Ann Arbor. The Wolverines added another goal about 12 minutes later, then buried the Volunteers with a goal 21 minutes into the second half for a 3-0 victory on Sunday. U-M advances to the NCAA quarterfinals for just the third time in school history (2002, 2013).

BIG TEN TOURNEY: Michigan wins Big Ten for first time since 1999

FIRST ROUND: Michigan mauls Bowling Green, 3-0, in NCAA tournament opener

SECOND ROUND: Michigan outlasts Wake Forest, 2-0, to advance

The Wolverines will face the winner of Sunday’s game between No. 1 Florida State and Pepperdine on Friday or Saturday. (If Florida State wins, the Seminoles will host the quarterfinal; if Pepperdine wins, the Waves will head to Ann Arbor.) The winner of that quarterfinal will head to the College Cup, set for Santa Clara, California, on Dec. 3-5. Michigan has never made the NCAA tournament final four.

The Wolverines are just one win away, though, thanks to a nice set up from Hernandez early in the first half, as she dribbled to draw in her defender and open space for Stratigakis. Meredith Haakenson, who scored in the second round on a penalty kick, also had an assist on the goal.

Less than a dozen minutes later, Haakenson had a goal of her own on a redirect off a looping corner kick from Raleigh Loughman, who scored the Wolverines’ lone goal in their Big Ten tournament final win.

The Wolverines then finished off the scoring as Sammi Woods received a ball from midfield, slipping behind the defense with the ball in transit. Tennessee goalie Lindsey Romig came out to challenge Woods, but she easily stepped to her right and deposited the ball into the net. Loughman and Sydney Shepherd had the assist.

For Romig and the Vols, it was a tough end to their most successful season since reaching the NCAA quarters in 2018. Romig faced nine shots on goal and had six saves. In all, Michigan peppered the Tennessee defense with 22 shots and seven corner kicks. The Vols actually had more corners (10) but just 12 shots, and only four on goal. Michigan goalie Hillary Beall had four saves, including a big on Tennessee’s Jaida Thomas 16:04 into the first.

Michigan goalie Hillary Beall (1) makes a save during the first half of an NCAA women's soccer game, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 at Folk Field in West Lafayette.
Michigan goalie Hillary Beall (1) makes a save during the first half of an NCAA women's soccer game, Thursday, Sept. 30, 2021 at Folk Field in West Lafayette.

Thomas led the Vols in scoring, with 13 goals and 31 points, but was blanked in the final two games of the season. She had just two shots overall Sunday. Tennessee’s talented freshmen, Jordan Fusco and Taylor Huff, were likewise stumped; Huff had two shots, with one on goal in the 78th minute, while Fusco was blanked. Huff’s final shot was the Volunteers’ last, best chance to score, as a transition attack was stopped by a Beall save. Thomas recovered for a shot, but it was cleared out of bounds by U-M’s Skylar Anderson to end the threat.

The Wolverines were the second team to make the quarterfinals, after BYU upset No. 1 seed Virginia on Saturday night. Fellow Big Ten teams Rutgers (another No. 1 seed), Penn State and Wisconsin also advanced to the Round of 16 and were in action Sunday afternoon.

Contact Ryan Ford at rford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @theford.

This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan women beat Tennessee, 3-0, one win away from NCAA final four