Soccer hopes to remain unbeaten in MAC play
Published: Thursday, October 4, 2012
Updated: Thursday, October 4, 2012 22:10
Following wins against Ohio University (OU) and Kent State University, the Miami University soccer team (10-2, 4-0 Mid-American Conference (MAC)) will put its unbeaten conference record on the line in a weekend home stand against Western Michigan University and Eastern Michigan University.
The ’Hawks are riding a five game winning streak and are still unbeaten in conference play. Miami has already matched its 2011 win total through its first 12 games in 2012.
“We’re not going to do anything special for these games,” Head Coach Bobby Kramig said. “I’ve continued to tell the team that better competition requires a better effort. These two teams are better competition than the four teams we’ve beaten so far. It’s as simple as being prepared and doing what we do even better.”
The Broncos (5-5-2, 1-1-2 MAC) have dropped several close games, and only one loss was by more than two goals. They are also defensively sound.
Eastern Michigan (7-3-1, 4-0 MAC) is another defensively minded team that is riding a four game winning streak, its longest of the season.
Miami lost to both teams in 2011.
“I think we’re trying to take things game-by-game,” senior captain Jess Kodiak said. “We are still focused on what’s at hand.
All the statistics and accomplishments we’ve had up to now are nice but don’t mean much if we don’t win. We all know Sunday is a really big game, but we have to focus on Western first. They’ve always been a really hard team.
As far as Eastern is concerned, they beat Central [Michigan], so we know they are a really good team, and that the game is going to be a back-and-forth battle.”
The ’Hawks have continuously found answers in various types of games all season long, and have compensated well, mixing defensive aggressiveness with offensive prowess. Defense was big in last Sunday’s victory over the Bobcats, while offense secured the win last Friday over Kent State.
“We’ve shown really nice balance all season long,” Kramig said. “When our defense struggles, like it did against Kent, our offense steps up and puts away goal after goal. I’m looking for this weekend for us to be sound over the course of both games at both ends of the field. We’re going to have two great opportunities to do that, and I know we are capable of doing that, seeing what we’ve done at moments this year in practice and in games.”
Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Dinges said the team needs to stick to its identity this weekend, not caving in to pressures that Western and Eastern Michigan may present.
“We all know the type of game we play,” Dinges said. “Both teams are going to be physical and are tough. That’s their style, but I think we did a good job keeping the game slowed down and seeing what direction it was going versus Kent, even though they wanted to play extremely fast, then putting it away on our terms. We have shown we can play fast, slow, offensively and defensively and if we can all be on the same page this weekend, we should come away with two more wins.”
Miami faces Western Michigan 4 p.m. Friday and Eastern Michigan 1 p.m. Sunday.