Miami extends streak to 7 games, longest of year
Published: Tuesday, October 9, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 9, 2012 03:10
Facing its toughest tests of the season the Miami University soccer team notched two more wins, extending its winning streak to seven games.
The Red and White blanked Western Michigan University 3-0 and edged Eastern Michigan University 4-3. Miami is now 12-2 and is 6-0 in Mid-American Conference (MAC) play.
Despite the RedHawks’ 3-0 victory Friday, the game was a battle from start to finish. Western Michigan had a size advantage over Miami and made the game physical from the start, challenging Miami with hard tackles and back and forth pushing and shoving. The ’Hawks also battled strong crosswinds most of the game, making for sloppy play and lots of missed opportunities.
“I was happy with how the game started, but when the weather changed it changed the way we played,” Head Coach Bobby Kramig said. “We stopped putting the ball to our feet and let the ball stay in the air too long. That’s not really our game, even in good conditions.”
Miami struck first in the seventh minute when freshman forward Haley Walter scored on a strike from the top of the box off an assist by junior forward Kayla Zakrzewski.
“What we wanted to do by getting that first goal is to get them to come out and not be as defensive as they were,” Kramig said. “It was important to score first. We wanted to avoid being behind like we’ve been at times this year. We accomplished our goal of getting them to come out of goal and it opened things up for us.”
The RedHawks kept up the offensive intensity but failed to score again in the first half. But just 11 minutes into the second half, they doubled their lead on another Zakrzewski assist to freshman forward Morgan Beck off a cross four feet in front of goal. Beck’s goal was the first of her collegiate career.
“It was amazing to be in such a hard fought game,” Beck said. “These are the best games to play, because everyone is so hyped up and excited to play for each other. I think my first goal was great because it came from a team effort, so I’m really happy about that.”
Miami put things out of reach in the 87th minute when Zakrzewski took a pass from junior forward Katy Dolesh and drilled it in on a sliding effort. Zakrzewski came into the game tied with teammate Walter for first in the MAC with six assists. After Friday’s match, she led the conference at eight.
“In the second half, we came out and did everything we talked about at halftime,” Zakrzewski said. “Bobby always talks about getting past people and creating opportunities, so it was a great effort by the whole team to make everything work.”
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg was not tested much and only had two saves.
Sunday’s game on senior day was a complete switch for the RedHawks, as they went from facing a physical opponent to a team with speed and good spacing on the pitch, eerily similar to Miami’s playing style.
The Eagles were the only other unbeaten MAC team until a 1-0 loss Friday to Ball State University.
Eastern Michigan came out strong defensively and executed well offensively, confusing the Miami defense all game. Two Miami first half shots hit the back of the net but were taken away for offsides penalties.
The Eagles found the net first in the 14th minute, but the RedHawks quickly responded five minutes later when sophomore midfielder Kelsey Dinges scored her seventh goal of the season on a shared assist from senior captain Jess Kodiak and Walter.
Kodiak then found Dinges a second time in the 27th minute on a touch pass to put the Red and White up 2-1. It was Dinges’ second multi-goal game this season and Miami’s sixth such game this year.
“I was proud to be able to contribute any way I could, especially on a day like today,” Kodiak said. “I kept playing hard, and was able to find Kelsey [Dinges] for two great goals.”
Dolesh connected with Beck on a give-and-go for Dolesh’s fifth goal on the season to start the second half. The Eagles responded with a goal of their own in the 66th minute and pulled even in the 84th minute.
However, Miami refused to quit and Zakrzewski responded with the game winner just one minute later, putting back a shot by freshman midfielder Jess Bronke, notching the ball straight in the middle of the net.