MU advances to semis
Published: Tuesday, October 30, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, October 30, 2012 02:10
Returning to its usual form, the top-seeded Miami University soccer team beat the eighth-seeded Ohio University Bobcats 1-0 in a Mid-American Conference (MAC) Quarterfinal game Sunday.
Miami now faces Kent State University Friday in the first of two MAC Tournament semifinal games. The win improves the RedHawks to 17-2-1 (10-0-1 MAC), with a school record 13 game unbeaten streak.
Head Coach Bobby Kramig’s squad again bounced back Sunday, stamping its authority on the match from the opening kickoff. Miami earned the first of its 10 corner kicks opportunities about 10 seconds into the match. The Red and White’s aggressive efforts paid off quickly when in the sixth minute, junior midfielder Kayla Zakrzewski scored her seventh goal of the season, after junior forward Katy Dolesh tapped the ball from a long throw-in by freshman midfielder Jess Bronke.
Just one minute later, Zakrzewski again put the ball in the back of the net on a rebound, after two shots from three yards out by sophomore midfielder Kelsey Dinges and senior captain Jess Kodiak. However, the goal was immediately waived for an offside penalty.
“That’s what we’ve been preaching the last couple of days, to come out and be aggressive,” Kramig said. “Set the tone and tempo for the game right from the beginning and I think our kids did that. I was disappointed that second goal was disallowed … we just had to keep playing, keep firing.”
Miami went into the half with a 14-2 advantage on shots and a 4-3 corner kick lead.
The second half featured more of the same intensity on both ends of the field. The defensive pressure remained steady from start to finish, with Ohio never able to establish consistent offensive pressure.
“The defense won the day for us,” Kramig said. “In soccer you have these bad finishing days so to make a one-goal lead stand up for 80-plus minutes says a lot about our defense.”
Sophomore defender Courtney Zanotti was integral in the ’Hawks’ back line, dashing all over the field and keeping the Bobcats out of the attacking third of the field.
“The key thing for us was to set the tone, winning every ball in the air and we did,” Zanotti said. “We were always on their back; they didn’t have a chance to turn. All-around, it was team defense. Our energy picked up and that’s how we got our goal and that’s how we held them to so few shots.”
The RedHawks had a season-high 30 shots, holding the ’Cats to just five, while doubling up Ohio in corner kick opportunities 10-5.
“I thought it was a tremendous effort by our kids,” Kramig said. “I’m pleased with the level of energy and enthusiasm they brought to the game, the commitment they brought to the game.”
As the top seed, Miami now hosts the remainder of the MAC Tournament this weekend. Friday’s game vs. fourth-seeded Kent State will be a rematch of a Sept. 30 game at Kent in which Miami won 4-2 in a frantic, back-and- forth affair.
“Kent is a good, well-organized team,” Kramig said. “We have a week to prepare and we will be ready.”
Kick off Friday is set for 11 a.m. followed by second seeded Central Michigan University taking on the six seed University of Toledo at 2 p.m.