Soccer prepares to face top MAC teams
Published: Wednesday, October 9, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, October 9, 2013 18:10
The Miami University soccer team (5-6-1) hits the road this weekend and travels to the state of Michigan to take on the only two undefeated teams in the Mid-American Conference (MAC).
The RedHawks play Western Michigan University (6-3-2) Friday, before heading across the state to play Eastern Michigan University (7-4-1) Sunday.
Both Western and Eastern Michigan are 4-0 in conference play, placing them in a tie for the top spot in both the West division and the entire MAC. Miami is 2-1-1 in the MAC, placing them atop the East division.
Head coach Bobby Kramig said this weekend will be the toughest test the ’Hawks have faced so far this year.
“They’re the only two teams in the MAC that are undefeated,” Kramig said. “We’re playing both on the road. We’ve just had tremendous battles with both teams over the course of the last few years. It’s turned into quite the rivalry for us.”
The RedHawks beat both teams last year in Oxford.
Western Michigan is averaging 2.09 goals per game while giving up one goal per game. The Broncos are led in scoring by junior forward Aubrey Sudomier who has 11 points and three goals. Sophomore forward Gina Maddi leads the team with four goals.
The Eagles of Eastern Michigan have a more potent offense than the Broncos, as they are averaging 2.5 goals per game and have scored 13 goals in their four MAC games. They surrender an average of 1.42 goals per game. The top two scorers for the Eagles are senior midfielder Cara Cutaia with 18 points and seven goals and junior forward Angela Vultaggio with 16 points and six goals.
Kramig said he does not believe his team is intimidated by the task ahead of them and they are not under any added pressure.
“I don’t think so,” Kramig said. “I think that there’s an added challenge by playing the two top teams in the league right now, but I don’t know that there’s any additional pressure on us. The pressure on us is that we have to show up, we have to play very hard. I think that the focus needs to be on us as well, we can’t get obsessed with any one particular team.”
Junior midfielder Kelsey Dinges also said she doesn’t believe the ’Hawks feel any pressure heading into this weekend’s matches.
“I don’t know if there’s any extra pressure,” Dinges said. “I think it’s more motivation. We just want to go out and play as hard as we can and try to get the W’s.”
The ’Hawks’ efforts in practice recently have been devoted to the defensive side of the ball and the results are evident. Miami has allowed only four goals in its last five games combined. However, the focus on defense has been to the detriment of the offense, as MU has only scored four goals in that timeframe.
Kramig said he wants to focus more on offense in practice this week.
“We’re working on our wide players,” Kramig said. “We want to play a little bit quicker, we want to be a little bit more direct and a little simpler with what you’re doing.”
Dinges said the Miami needs to improve its communication on offense.
“I think we need to work on communicating a little better offensively,” Dinges said. “Just finding each other’s feet and finding the back of the net.”
Kickoff for Friday’s match is set for 3 p.m. Game time for Sunday’s match is 1 p.m.