By GEOFF MEHL, Staff Reporter
The University of Michigan-Dearborn men’s soccer team fell to No. 22 Olivet Nazarene 1-0 on Saturday afternoon in an inter-conference matchup. Though it was a disappointing loss for the Wolverines, players and coaches were impressed by their progress.
Sophomore goalkeeper Andrew Pietrzak played a strong game for the Wolverines and has been a star in the young season. Pietrzak has allowed six goals in five games and prior to Olivet, had a save percentage of .828.
“It was the best I’ve ever seen him play,” Coach Mike Hatfield said.
Hatfield was happy with the progress of the team from last season to this one and is encouraged.
“It is good to come out and compete…we have to grow from this game to the next.”
The loss has left the Wolverines with a 3-2 record. There is still work to do if they want to compete for a conference championship.
“They are a top end team and I think we struggled handling the pressure, we couldn’t get into any kind of rhythm,” said Hatfield.
Senior midfielder Damjan Stamenkovik thought the Wolverines played well but couldn’t overtake their opponent’s momentum.
“We defended well all game” Stamenkovik said. “We had chances to score and couldn’t capitalize on them, they just came out and dominated in the second half.”
Moving forward, the Wolverines will be playing some of the better teams in their respective division. They take on Spring Arbor University on Tuesday, September 17 at home. Last season Michigan lost to Spring Arbor 2-0 with a depleted team of just 10 guys.
“We held our own” Hatfield said. “They are good and I am looking forward to playing them on Tuesday.”