MU extends unbeaten streak to seven
Published: Tuesday, October 22, 2013
Updated: Tuesday, October 22, 2013 02:10
The Miami University soccer team (8-6-2) extended its winning streak to seven games as they toppled Northern Illinois University (4-9-3) and the University of Toledo (5-10-1) both 2-0 over the weekend.
The win over Toledo guaranteed the RedHawks a spot in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament. Miami now sports a 5-1-2 record in the MAC, placing them atop the East division and tied for second place in the conference.
Head coach Bobby Kramig said he was pleased with his team’s workmanlike effort over the weekend.
“Just a good professional effort,” Kramig said. “The thing that I’m most pleased with on the weekend is our mindset in terms of going forward and attacking the other team’s goal. We’ve been very tentative up until this point … We worked really hard on it this week in practice and four goals in two games is doubling our normal output.”
The RedHawks came out aggressive in the first half against Toledo, outpacing the Rockets in shots (6-2) and corners (7-1), but they were unable to capitalize and find the net.
The match remained scoreless until junior forward/midfielder Kelsey Dinges struck in the 61st minute. Dinges scored on a long shot from about 30 yards out to the left corner of the goal. The ball deflected off sophomore keeper Sam Tiongson’s outstretched hands into the net. Dinges tacked on a second goal with one second to go.
The win against Toledo was preceded by a convincing win against NIU Friday. Freshman midfielder Rachel Marble scored her first career goal at the four-minute mark. The score came off a corner pass from junior forward Hailey Pleshakov.
Dinges added another goal in the 64th minute to put the game away. Sophomore midfielder Haley Walter provided the assist.
Dinges’s three goals over the weekend doubled her output for the season; she now has six goals on the year. Dinges recently made the transition from midfielder to forward and relinquished her starting spot in the lineup while doing so. She leads the team with 17 points on the season.
Kramig praised Dinges’s effort in the two games and her attitude about the position change.
“It’s been an interesting two weeks with Kelsey,” Kramig said. “What a response [this weekend]. A lot of kids would go into that [saying] ‘I don’t want to do this, its new, its different, change is bad,’ but Kelsey handled it like a pro, had a good attitude the whole time and what a response. Good for her.”
Dinges said the position change has been difficult for her, but has been made a little easier with the help of her teammates.
“It’s been a tough transition,” Dinges said. “But I’ve gotten a lot of help from Hailey Pleshakov and other girls stepping up and making things happen. I play with my back to the goal a lot more now, so it’s just very different, but I am still able to do things I like to do in center mid.”
While the offense has improved, the RedHawks have relied on thier defense to shut down the opponent, a startling change from a few weeks ago when it was springing leaks like a rusty faucet. MU has now shutout five opponents in a row. It appears the ’Hawks are playing their most complete soccer as they head into the homestretch of the regular season.