It's near (or at) the end of the regular season for these 3 teams and since they've all done well and 2 have significantly improved over last season, I think they deserve a little recap for their hard work.
Men's Soccer (10-6-1, 2-4, last year) have guaranteed themselves at least a .500 Big Ten season with a 3-2 home OT win over #23 Michigan State this afternoon. The Wolverines will take their 10-4-3, 3-2 record into the regular-season finale against Northwestern next Saturday in Evanston. Led by the stellar performance of freshman Soony Saad (National Gatorade Player of the Year, coming from high school) with 14 goals and RS Junior, Chris Blais' 1.44 GAA, Michigan looks to solidify their place as one the 48 NCAA tournament teams after not making the big show last year. There is no conference tournament and the Wolverines are out of the regular season championship hunt. The men are 2-3 against ranked teams, including a 7-1 loss to #1 Akron (notable because of Soony Saad scoring the first goal Akron has allowed at home this season) and have a 8-2-1 record at the brand new U-M Soccer Stadium and were ranked 42 in the RPI coming into the weekend. Michigan has gone in between no ranking at all and receiving votes for most of the season and is probably pretty solidly a bubble tournament team at this point, though the MSU victory likely helped their cause.
Women's soccer (6-9-5, 1-4-5, last season) have also guaranteed themselves a .500 or better conference record with yesterday's 2-1 home victory over the Hawkeye's. So far this season Michigan has gone 9-3-4, 4-2-2 behind freshman Nkem Ezuike's 8 goals and RS Sophomore Haley Kopmeyer's .813 GAA. The Wolverines still face #16 Illinois tomorrow at home and Penn State next weekend in State College. So far the ladies have a 1-1 record against ranked teams, including a 1-0 2OT last minute win over then#23 Minnesota, on the road and have a 5-1-1 home record. After their final 2 regular season games, they will compete in the Big Ten Tournament. With no chance of winning the regular season Big 10 title and probably not a very good one at winning the tournament, their goal is to make the 64 team NCAA tournament. With an RPI of 43 coming into the weekend, that should be obtainable with a strong finish to the season and in the tournament. They weren't even close to a tournament berth last year.
#12 Field hockey (7-13, 2-4 last year) finishes the regular season at 12-6, 5-1, sharing the regular season Big Ten title with Ohio State who were the Wolverine's only Big 10 loss. Led by freshman Rachael Mack with 12 goals and RS Freshman Haley Jones in goal with a 1.51 GAA and 4 shutouts, Michigan went 9-2 at home, losing to then #6 OSU and #1 Maryland by a goal each. They went 4-5 against ranked teams, including 0-2 against #1's, 1-1 against #6s and 2-0 against #14's. Going into the Big Ten Tournament this Thursday at Iowa, the lady's look strong to both contend for the tournament title and make the 16 team NCAA tournament regardless, after bowing out in the first round of the conference tournament and not making NCAA's last year. They sat at #9 in the RPI before defeating Indiana 5-2 this afternoon to clinch the shared conference title. The Wolverine's didn't even sniff the national tournament last season.
Congratulations to all 3 teams on their performances so far this season. Special mention to the big turnarounds by Greg Ryan in his 3rd season at Michigan and Marcia Pankratz in her 1st season back, after a 5 year break, before which she coached the Wolverines for 9 seasons (1996-2004), including winning Michigan's first ever national title in a women's sport with a 2001 NCAA NC trophy. Good luck to the teams the rest of the way and GO BLUE!