The Wolverine

October 2017

The Wolverine: Covering University of Michigan Football and Sports

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66 THE WOLVERINE OCTOBER 2017 BY AUSTIN FOX A fter a rough 2016 season that saw the U-M men's soccer team go 4-11-4, the team has rebounded nicely early in 2017, getting off to a 4-0-1 start. Head coach Chaka Daley explained that after last year's disappointment, the team was anxious to improve. "We got to work very quickly," Daley said. "We had a solid pre- season and have had solid competi- tion everywhere throughout. "It's imperative to get off to a good start, and now we just have to sus- tain it and remain competitive head- ing into conference play." With Big Ten play getting into full swing in mid-September, Daley said his team's goal was to maintain its early momentum. "We're not changing anything," he insisted. "In every game in any sport, there are minor tweaks you have to make based on what the opponent is doing, but for the most part we're going to keep doing what we've been doing." Daley appreciates the leadership and attitude of the team as a whole. "I'm most pleased with the char- acter of this group," he said. "Their leadership has been great. Our three tri-captains [senior defender Billy Stevens, junior midfielder Ivo Cerda and junior midfielder Robbie Mertz] have done a great job, and our se- niors have also been fantastic lead- ing the way. They're so ambitious, inquisitive and excited about the op- portunities this team has. "We have a lot of new players as well. Against William & Mary [in the season opener Aug. 25], we had seven players who put on a Michi- gan jersey for the first time. We're also starting to get some of our guys who weren't healthy back into the group. Hopefully we'll have their experience to lean on going forward as well." The Wolverines have received some strong performances from both their rookies and veterans. "I've been very happy with [fresh- man midfielder] Marc Ybarra so far," Daley said. "[Freshman midfielder] Umar Farouk [Osman] has done a great job in the attacking area, and [junior midfielder and captain] Rob- bie Mertz has been the man so far of the season. "The whole back four and goal- Early Season Success Men's Soccer Is One Of Many U-M Olympic Sports Off To A Hot Start Sophomore forward Jack Hallahan paced Michigan with two goals, two assists and six points during its 4-0-1 start. PHOTO COURTESY MICHIGAN ATHLETIC MEDIA RELATIONS

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