By Justin Woods, For The Miami Student
The Miami University women's soccer team looks to get back to winning Sunday as it travels to University of Louisville. The matchup against the Cardinals (2-1) will round out Miami's difficult early season road trip.
"This is a tough stretch for us with four road games in a row," head coach Bobby Kramig said. "And it's not just road games, it's Purdue, it's Butler, it's Northwestern, it's Louisville."
The RedHawks (2-1) opened the season with two wins before losing at Northwestern University (3-1) last weekend. Miami spent this week of practice focusing on physical conditioning, but the 'Hawks also watched plenty of film to learn from the Northwestern game.
"We'll correct the problems that we saw [at Northwestern]," Kramig said. "But certainly Louisville is a good enough team to expose other issues that we might have, and we'll learn from those too."
The Cardinals posted a 12-5-2 record in 2013 with a 7-1 mark in American Athletic Conference play. Louisville made the transition to the Atlantic Coastal Conference this season. The ACC is the cream of the NCAA women's soccer crop - eight ACC schools were ranked in the preseason Top 25 and four cracked the Top 5.
Louisville made another move this season into a brand new stadium, regarded as one of the premier collegiate soccer complex in the country. With a construction cost of $18.5 million, the soccer-specific facility can hold 5,300 spectators.
But the Red and White aren't necessarily overmatched. When the teams met in 2013, Miami took a 2-0 lead before allowing three consecutive Cardinal goals to drop the contest in overtime.
Around this time last season, the 'Hawks experienced an offensive outburst that led to 16 goals in a stretch of five non-conference games. A similar attacking surge would be more than welcome considering Miami has tallied only three goals in its first three matches.
Kramig welcomes the challenges of these non-conference matchups, but he doesn't want his players to lose focus of the number one priority, the Mid-American Conference.
"We're gonna go out and play very hard," Kramig said. "The whole idea of these non-conference games is to get better and get ready for MAC play. Winning the MAC is the priority, and [these games] will help us to do that."
The match starts at 1 p.m. Sunday in Louisville.