Miami sophomore midfielder Jenna Weiner moves the ball during Miami's 3-0 win over IPFW Sept. 14. Weiner recorded a goal in the RedHawks' victorious effort.
Photo by Phil Arndt, The Miami Student
By Justin Woods, For The Miami Student
Amidst the excitement of alumni weekend and senior day, the Miami University soccer team picked up two hard-fought wins to move to 6-1 and extended its winning streak to four games.
Miami seniors Courtney Zanotti, Kelsey Dinges, Danielle Wiseman, Olivia Evans and Hailey Pleshakov were honored before Sunday's kickoff against Illinois State University (6-4). All five started the game.
The RedHawks flew past the Redbirds early Sunday and took a 2-0 lead into halftime. ISU retaliated with two goals to even the contest until Miami senior midfielder Kelsey Dinges spurred her team to victory with a strike into the top-right corner of the net. Dinges scored three goals this weekend and is riding a run of five goals in the past four matches.
"Kelsey Dinges may be the hottest player in NCAA soccer right now," head coach Bobby Kramig said. "Those were three super high quality goals. Kels can do that - she's dangerous from 30 yards in."
In addition to another classy performance from Dinges, Sunday marked the emergence of Maggie Scott. The freshman midfielder scored a goal and was credited with an assist after her through-ball was finished by sophomore forward Rachel Marble.
"We've known Maggie is a good player all along," Kramig said. "She's played in every game for us. She's a great ballstriker. She's a creative attacking player. It was just a matter of time before she was gonna get one, and what a good goal it was."
Scott joined fellow freshmen Kat Zalar and Amy Malone as goal scorers early in their opening season.
"That was my first collegiate goal and assist, so it was pretty awesome," Scott said. "It was a big win."
Miami's first weekend triumph came against Marshall University (3-3-2) in similarly tight fashion. The 'Hawks were challenged by the Thundering Herd, but held on to seal the 2-1 victory. Dinges had both Miami goals Friday, one of which was a blistering 30-yard bending strike.
Although the 'Hawks didn't play their best soccer against Marshall, they showed the ability to win with less than their A game.
"It wasn't a work of art - I know we're capable of playing better," Kramig said. "But I felt like our kids worked hard, committed themselves to the game and showed some poise closing it out."
Dinges thought the narrow weekend wins exemplified the heart the RedHawks possess.
"[These wins] are huge for our team, and it's huge to say we can hold a lead," Dinges said. "We have a lot of fight in us and a lot of passion."
Miami fell to both Marshall and Illinois State on the road last year and for Kramig, it was special to turn the tables, especially on senior day against ISU.
"What a great way to honor our senior class with a top-notch result like this," Kramig said. "It says everything in the world about them, their character, their dedication to this team, their willingness to work hard … I can't think of a better way to honor their effort than today's result."
The Red and White take the field again 4 p.m. Friday as they welcome Eastern Michigan University to Oxford.