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Posted on Mon, Sep 19, 2011 : 1:36 p.m.

Michigan women's soccer wins first Big Ten opener since 2005 and more notes

By Matt Durr

The Michigan women’s soccer team, which has lost once in its last eight matches, opened Big Ten play with a 1-0 win at Indiana on Sunday.

A second-half goal by Shelina Zadorsky and seven saves by goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer gave the Wolverines (6-2-1) their first conference-opening win since 2005.

"These Big Ten games are always so tight. They're usually a one-goal win, one-goal loss or tie," Michigan coach Greg Ryan said. "To come down to Indiana and win on their home field really gives us some confidence going forward as head into some tough games."

Players said the win in Bloomington started with confidence-building home victories last week against Western Michigan and Central Michigan.

"They were both scrappy and tough, and a lot of Big Ten teams are that way," said senior defenseman Kristen Goncalves.

Senior midfield Courtney Mercier says Big Ten teams are "bigger, faster, stronger" than some of the Wolverines' non-conference opponents, but that Michigan can compete with any team.

The team as a whole has come together nicely, according to Goncalves, partially because of the bonds they’ve formed away from the game.

“The team has great chemistry off the field. I think when you like each other off the field, you’re more likely to work for each other and fight for each other,” Goncalves said. “We just want to win together.”

And fighting for each other has been a theme this season. The team frequently talks about working hard for themselves, each other and for Michigan, Mercier said.

“I have 23 other girls out there working their butts off for me, why wouldn’t I work for them?” Mercier said.

Michigan volleyball returns home

The Michigan volleyball team played at home for the first time this weekend, sweeping Toledo, Xavier and Texas A&M in the Michigan/Adidas Invitational at Cliff Keen Arena.

The Wolverines entered the tournament 9-0, but Michigan coach Mark Rosen thought playing in front of familiar faces put more pressure on his players than extending their perfect season -- particularly during Friday's wins over Toledo and Xavier.

"I thought that this weekend, I sensed that they had a little bit more pressure internally because of being at home," Rosen said. "They want to play well here because they are playing in front of all of their friends and people they know really well. As an athlete, you always want to play your best, but there was a little more pressure there."

On Saturday, Rosen said his team "finally let that go and got in a flow." A 3-0 win over Texas A&M pushed the Wolverines' record to 12-0 entering this week's Big Ten-opening road trip to Indiana and Purdue.

“As a senior, I love being at home,” said Courtney Fletcher. “We’ve always played well at home and I think this year will be the same.”

Fletcher said it's easier to focus on the road because there are not as many distractions as being at home. There is only the match to focus on and the only people the players see are each other.

EMU, U-M golfers in top 10

Michigan's Yugene Lee shot a 5-over 221 to finish as runner-up at the Mary Fossum Invitational on Sunday at Forest Akers West Golf Course in East Lansing. Lee finished four strokes behind Caroline Powers of Michigan State, which won the team title.

Ohio State was second and Michigan third in the team standings.

Eastern Michigan's Shannon Warner finished tied for the 10th and the Eagles were eighth in the 12-team standings.

Michigan cross country excels on important course

The Michigan women’s cross country team had the top six finishers and eight of the top 10 in a landslide win over Illinois and Wisconsin this weekend.

While the early-season warmup -- called the Illinois Orange & Blue Preview -- doesn't have any impact on the Big Ten title, the location of the race was quite significant.

The 6,000-meter run through the University of Illinois Arboretum is the same course the team will run at the Big Ten Championships in October.

Coach Mike McGuire said it was a chance for his team to learn.

“When you’re familiar with something it has tendency to make you more in touch with the course,” McGuire said. “Knowing your landmarks and where you’re going, it helps the mental game.”

The Wolverines are ranked No. 14 in the preseason polls, a number that surprised McGuire based on how they finished last year (22nd out of 31 teams that qualified for the NCAA Championships).

The Michigan runners to sweep the top six spots on Friday were Danielle Tauro (20:19), Rebecca Addison (20:26), Taylor Pogue (20:34), Megan Weschler (21:05), Mary Grace Pellegrini (21:12) and Ellen Junewick (21:23).

The Wolverines didn't have the same success in the men's 8,000-meter race at the same event. Michigan finished third behind Wisconsin and Illinois.

Zach Ornelas was fifth (24:35) for Michigan's top finish. Brendon Blacklaw and Bobby Aprill (Dexter) were also in the top 10.

Aprill said earlier in the week that becoming a deeper team will help them get back to relevance at the Big Ten level and that, because of training, the team is getting closer to that goal.

Last season, the team met their new coach Alex Gibby just weeks before the season started. Now with a year under their belt in Gibby’s system, Aprill and the team are comfortable.

“We had a full year under coach to get back down to basics and understand his system,” Aprill said.

More Sunday results

Marquette 2, Michigan 1 (OT): Kelmend Islami's goal with 51 seconds left in overtime was the game-winner for Marquette (2-4-1) and gave Michigan (2-6-1) its second overtime loss in as many games. (Details)

Michigan 3, Boston University 1: Michigan freshman Axelle Wouters scored the first two goals of her college career to help the No. 13-ranked Wolverines (6-2) beat No. 14 Boston. (Details)

Muirfield Clay Court Invitational: The doubles team of Miriam Westerink and Nino Mebuke were runners-up, the best finish for Eastern Michigan at the season-opening event. (Details)