By Justin Woods, For The Miami Student
After kicking off with two wins, the Miami University women's soccer team dropped its first match of the season Sunday at Northwestern University.
The Red and White (2-1) entered halftime down only one goal, but the Wildcats (3-1) extended their lead to three in the second half before junior Haley Walter added a late RedHawk goal to take the score 3-1 in favor of NU.
Miami never found a comfortable rhythm in the game as it was outshot by a 15-2 margin. Head coach Bobby Kramig thinks Northwestern deserves credit for its performance.
"[Northwestern] presented a huge challenge to us," Kramig said. "I was impressed with their physicality, fitness and organization. They're a Big Ten team and they play like a Big Ten team."
The artificial turf playing surface at Northwestern presented a challenge of its own to the 'Hawks, who are accustomed to grass fields.
"It was a new surface and we weren't really able to play our game," the goalscorer Walter said. "We came out a little too hesitant and not as aggressive as we should have been. Because of that we got stuck defending more than we had opportunities going forward."
Miami spent Monday watching film to uncover and analyze the mistakes that led to the defeat against the Wildcats.
"I told the team that this isn't a bad thing if we can learn from it," Kramig said. "We needed a game like this. We needed to play a team that would expose us. If you don't ever play a team that exposes you, you're never going to find out what some of your problems are and get better."
Walter hopes that by discovering their weaknesses now, the RedHawks will be well prepared for similar tests down the road.
"We watched film for a while," Walter said. "Hopefully if we get these same challenges presented to us again we will have learned from them."
The 'Hawks will complete their demanding four-game road trip Sunday at the University of Louisville. Miami will use another long week of practice to get ready for Louisville and prepare for the rest of the season.
Enjoy what you're reading?
Signup for our newsletter
"We're gonna have a week of hard physical work - getting that game fitness is a priority right now," Kramig said. "There are also things organizationally that we need to clean up and there will be an emphasis on playing more aggressively."