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’Hawks split first MAC matches

Miami junior defender Lauren Kelly prepares to play the ball during Miami's 2-0 victory over Bowling Green State University Sunday.

Photo by Tyler Rigg, For The Miami Student

RedHawks fall 2-0 to defending MAC champs Eastern Michigan and beat Bowling Green 2-0

By Justin Woods, For The Miami Student

Miami University's Mid-American Conference opener against Eastern Michigan University (5-2-1) was bound to be a challenge for the RedHawks (6-2). The 'Hawks fell to the defending regular season conference champions 2-0 Friday.

Despite the loss, Miami head coach Bobby Kramig thought the game was a great showcase of MAC soccer.

"I thought it was a very good soccer game," Kramig said. "The Eastern-Miami game always is. Give all the credit to Eastern - they're a fine team."

Play was balanced in the first half and it looked like the score would be level going into halftime until the Eagles snatched a goal in the 45th minute.

"It was kind of a fluky goal," senior defender Courtney Zanotti said. "It hit off the crossbar and barely bounced over the line. There was nothing we could do about it."

Miami came out in the second half determined to even the match but couldn't find the critical final touch to get past EMU's organized defense. Entering Friday's shutout, the 'Hawks had scored a goal in every contest and scored at least two goals in each of the previous four games.

"We didn't have a very good finishing day, that's for sure," Kramig said. "We've been on a roll here with our goal scoring lately, but sometimes you hit games like that. You just gotta brush them off and move on."

Zanotti chose to look forward rather than dwell on Friday's defeat.

"This game is a hard loss, but we've got 10 more games to play and I'm not concerned about it," Zanotti said. "I think we're gonna get it back."

As Zanotti predicted, the RedHawks rebounded and placed another mark in the win column Sunday and reversed Friday's scoreline by defeating Bowling Green State University 2-0. Miami never let up as it sent 25 shots at the Falcons (1-8), who only mustered two shots of their own.

"I thought we were sharp in the first half," Kramig said. "We were doing everything that we needed to do - we were quick, we were opportunistic, we were aggressive."

Junior forward/midfielder Haley Walter and freshman midfielder Maggie Scott found the net against BGSU. It was the second goal of the season for both players.

While Kramig was looking to get more out of the weekend, he is confident the 'Hawks will bounce back and contend for the conference title.

"I don't think anyone's ever gone through the MAC unscathed," Kramig said. "We're in good shape. We've got a good team. We'll be there at the end - I'm not concerned about that."

Miami continues conference play next weekend as it hosts University of Toledo 4 p.m. Friday and Central Michigan University 1 p.m. Sunday.