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).
15' | Stratigakis!!!
Tackle won by Kalitta in our own end, Haakenson played ball to Hernandez. Nicki feeds Strat, turns and finishes!
#GoBlue〽 | #InPursuit pic.twitter.com/Fwm3px5SCK
— Michigan Women’s Soccer (@umichwsoccer) November 21, 2021
BIG TEN TOURNEY: Michigan wins Big Ten for first time since 1999
SECOND ROUND: Michigan outlasts Wake Forest, 2-0, to advance
The Wolverines will face No. 1 Florida State in Tallahassee, Florida, on Friday or Saturday. The Seminoles advanced with a 1-0 win over Pepperdine on Sunday with a goal in the fifth minute by Jody Brown. 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.
Thomas led the Vols in scoring this season, with 13 goals and 31 points, but was blanked in the final two games. 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. The Scarlet Knights went through two overtimes and all the way to a shootout, but knocked off TCU in the seventh round of penalty kicks. The Badgers, meanwhile, fell to Santa Clara, 2-1. The Nittany Lions were bounced by South Carolina, 2-0.
Just as the Wolverines are entering rare territory with their third NCAA quarterfinal matchup, the Seminoles have been there plenty: Florida State has 16 quarterfinal appearances, all since 2003. The Seminoles also have 11 College Cup appearances, including last season, in which they made the national final. FSU has two national titles, winning it all in 2014 and 2018. Michigan and Florida State have never met in women's soccer.
This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan women beat Tennessee, 3-0, one win away from NCAA final four