Soccer starts season strong, finishes off Bruins
Published: Friday, September 7, 2012
Updated: Friday, September 7, 2012 00:09
The Miami University soccer team (4-1) is off to its best five-game start since the 1999 season, after topping Belmont University 2-1 in overtime Sunday.
The Bruins and Mother Nature tested the RedHawks, as they battled sloppy field conditions, heavy rain and strong crosswinds.
Despite the tumultuous playing conditions, Miami communicated and executed to near perfection in the first half, earning five early corner kick opportunities. Even with the aggressive start, the ’Hawks failed to capitalize on their early opportunities, as three of the five corner kicks were cleared by Belmont after falling within a few feet of the goal line.
“We left [Belmont] in it,” Head Coach Bobby Kramig said. “We need to put teams away when we have the chance. I’m looking for us to be more coldblooded and cutthroat, especially on the offensive end.”
Miami quickly paid for its squandered opportunities when Belmont went up 1-0 in the 20th minute and carried that lead into the half.
The RedHawks were more consistent with their offensive execution in the second half.
Freshman forward/midfielder Haley Walter continued her goal-scoring streak, leveling the score at one apiece in the 67th minute. Walter has scored three goals in the last two games.
“I’m just trying to take advantage of my chances,” Walter said. “I blew a lot of goals in the first few games, so I’m trying to focus on putting them in.”
Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Dinges, who has scored more goals through five games than she did all last season, finally put away the game in the third minute of overtime as rain began falling sideways.
“I was excited to play in the rain,” Dinges said. “Even though I love the added challenge of playing in bad weather, I was pretty focused on taking the shot when I had it so we could get out of there with the win. If we’re going to play in bad weather, we at least want to win, so the bus ride home can be fun.”
Miami has three remaining games until its Mid-American Conference season-opener against the University of Akron.
Austin Peay State University faces Miami Friday in Oxford.
Kramig said conditioning and a 90-minute effort is key, but the RedHawks will have to make a concerted effort to be stout defensively against an aggressive offensive team.
“This game will be very entertaining,” Kramig said. “They have players who love to attack hard, coming right at you.”
Austin Peay has two very talented sisters from Columbia as well. Natalia and Tatiana Ariza played on the Columbian National team in the U20 World Cup and are extremely skillful.
“We’re going to have to be tougher on both ends of the field,” Kramig said.
Game time is set for 5 p.m. Friday.