Miami shuts out Bruins in home opener victory
Published: Monday, September 2, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 2, 2013 23:09
After last year’s tough match against Belmont University that saw Miami University barely escape with an overtime victory, the RedHawks thought they would have their hands full again this year.
That turned out to not be the case.
Led by senior forward Kayla Zakrzewski’s two goals and a stifling team defense, the RedHawks (2-1-0) blew out Belmont (1-2-0) 5-0 in the first game of the year on their home grass.
Head coach Bobby Kramig has come to expect these types of excellent performances from Zakrzewski.
“Kayla is Kayla,” Kramig said. “She’s got to be one of the top two or three players in the Mid-American Conference and it’s about what we would expect from her. She’s a senior this year and she knows exactly what she’s doing out there. If we can find her one on one, God help the other team.”
Zakrzewski led the RedHawks’ scoring effort in the first half, knocking in both of the RedHawks’ two goals past Bruins senior keeper Nicole Berner. Zakrzewski also added an assist to her total, giving her a five point game.
Zakrzewski’s first goal came in the 22nd minute of the first period. Junior forward Hailey Pleshakov, positioned on the right wing of the field, needled the ball to Zakrzewski who was ahead on the left wing with no defenders between her and the goalie. Zakrzewski squeezed the ball past the keeper into the top-left corner of the net, giving the ’Hawks a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Zakrzewski recorded her second goal of the match on a long pass from junior midfielder Kelsey Dinges. Dinges, standing at midfield, booted the ball over the backs of the Belmont defenders to Zakrzewski, who was leading the breakaway. Zakrzewski buried the ball in the center of the net for the score.
“I just think first game we were all excited to play at home,” Zakrzewski said. “The first 15 minutes we came out really hard and were playing really well. We’ve been working on finishing breakaways, so obviously that came in handy.”
Kramig was pleased with his team’s effort, especially on offense.
“At the start of the game I thought everything was (clicking on offense) for us really,” Kramig said. “I thought the first 15, 20 minutes of the game was the best soccer we’ve played all year. Speed of play was good. Passing was good, crisp. People were moving off the ball. That’s what we’ve been working on in practice so it was nice to see it in a game.”
The ’Hawks dominated possession and kept the Bruins on their heels all game long, as the ball rarely left Miami’s half of the field. On the few occasions that they did have the ball, Belmont could barely muster any momentum on offense against Miami’s defense, as they failed to even attempt a shot on goal during the first period. They finished the game with just two official shots. It was Miami’s second straight shutout of an opponent.
The strangest – and easiest – goal of the match came in the 67th minute. Belmont’s Berner was out of position at the top of the penalty box when Dinges, standing near midfield, launched the ball over her head and into the wide open net.
“I think it was a scramble on our end and I actually cleared it down the middle,” Dinges said. “Somehow their goalie got it and I think she mis-cleared it and it went straight to me. I settled it, looked up and saw the net was open.”
Dinges’ score was the proverbial knockout punch. Freshman midfielder Taylor Jackson and freshman forward Jenna Weiner scored the RedHawks final two goals to bring the tally to five.
The ’Hawks next match is Friday, Sept. 6th as they travel to Indiana University-Purdue University Fort Wayne.