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MORNING BRIEFING: Rough start for Greg Ryan
by Paul Kennedy, August 25th, 2008 1:15PM

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MORNING BRIEFING: Rough start for Greg Ryan

Two days after watching the U.S. women's national team do in the Olympic gold-medal game what it couldn't do 11 months earlier with him in charge -- beat Brazil -- Greg Ryan began his new job as head coach of the Michigan women's team. The result? A 7-0 loss at Notre Dame.

Ryan, who was not retained as U.S. women's coach following the 4-0 loss to Brazil in the semifinals of the 2007 Women's World Cup, took over as Wolverine coach over the winter. He says opening against a ranked team -- Notre Dame is No. 4 and features one the best frontlines in the country -- at least provided a measuring stick.

"It is a good thing for us because we need to see where are problems are -- things that we can fix," Ryan said. "This game shows us everything we need to know about what we need to improve on and what we need to work towards. A national championship contending team like Notre Dame is going to expose you and we got to see where our weaknesses are, what is going to cost us games. There were two or three areas, in particular defensively -- we pretty much gave them two or three goals."

Ryan replaced Debbie Rademacher, who launched the Wolverines' program in 1994. He told the Detroit Free Press the morning of the Olympic final he had put the controversy behind the loss to Brazil and his ouster behind him.

"If you're going to let things get you down -- like, one loss in 55 games -- keep you from coaching, then you're really not a coach," said Ryan.

The Michigan job is his fourth college job after stints at Wisconsin, Southern Methodist and Colorado College over the last quarter century.

TOP 25 WEEKEND ACTION
San Diego 0 USC 1 (Tomer 94) (OT).
William & Mary 1 (Zimmeck 67) Penn State 3 (Bouchelle 34, Toney 49, Rago 50).
Missouri 1 (Collins 47) Illinois 2 (Desjarlais 7, Nweke 94) (OT).
 
THE 12TH MAN. There is a reason why Texas A&M hosted last year's Women's College Cup. The folks in College Station love their women's soccer.

The Aggies opened the 2008 season Friday evening with a 3-2 victory over Rhode Island in front of 6,712 fans at the Aggie Soccer Stadium.

Texas A&M is known for the fantastic support of its students. The student body is known as the 12th Man, and they stand during the entire game to show their support.

"The 12th Man is such a great thing for women's college soccer," said A&J coach G Guerrieri. "Not only is it a gigantic crowd but it's a crowd that is fun to play in front of and lifts our team to play well."

MERLO SELLOUT. Portland drew a sellout crowd of 4,892 at Merlo for its 3-1 win over Oregon. The Rapinoe twins, Megan and Raechel, had big nights in their first game back after suffering knee injuries in 2007. Megan had two assists, while Raechel buried the third goal.

FETZER FREE. No. 2 North Carolina drew 3,274 fans for its 5-1 win over Charlotte. The Tar Heels rallied for four goals in the second half to break away from a halftime deadlock. Allie Long led the Tar Heels with two goals and an assist. North Carolina isn't charging admission to regular-season games at Fetzer Field this fall. Extensive renovations are currently under way at Carmichael Auditorium, which is located adjacent to Fetzer Field.

SISTER ACT. Sisters Zoe and Julia Bouchelle both had winning goals for ranked teams on Saturday. Zoe, a senior, scored off a corner kick in Penn State's 3-1 win at William & Mary. scored Julia, a freshman, scored her first collegiate goal to lead Boston College past rival Boston University, 1-0.



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