By Harrison Schwarz, staff writer
The Miami University women's soccer team dropped to third in the Mid-American Conference West Division after splitting its weekend games, falling 1-0 to University of New York at Buffalo in double overtime Friday and beating University of Akron 3-0 Sunday.
MU's record is now 9-6-1 (5-3-1 in the MAC), while Buffalo, currently on a four-game win streak, improved to 10-5-2 (6-2-1 in the MAC) and is in first place in the MAC West Division. Akron also split its weekend and stands at 6-10-1 (3-6 in the MAC).
The 'Hawks weekend began with a nail biter against the Bulls. Before the game, Miami and the Buffalo were tied for first in the division and were fighting for supremacy. To make the stakes higher, it was also a grudge match for Miami, as the Bulls clinched the MAC title in last year's tournament with a win over MU.
Miami's best opportunity in the first half came when it was awarded a free kick just outside the box. Senior midfielder Jess Bronke sent a scorching shot into the bottom left corner of the net, but Buffalo sophomore goalkeeper Laura Dougall made a diving save.
The second half saw fewer opportunities, and neither team put up a high-probability shot, so the game headed to sudden death overtime.
In the 107th minute in the second OT, Bulls freshman defenseman Brianna Shingary belted a shot from 25 yards out that snaked just past the outstretched fingers of Maniaci and into the net.
Head coach Bobby Kramig was proud of the way his team played and admitted the loss was hard to swallow.
"It was a well-played game," Kramig said. "I'm very proud of our kids for the effort that they put into it and for the quality soccer that they played. We probably should have won. We probably were the better team, and it just didn't go out way. But that's soccer. The most important thing is to just move past it and be ready for Akron on Sunday."
MU's offense came out of hibernation against Akron. Freshman forward Ashley Weathers was the first to put Miami on the board with a goal in the 32nd minute after a nice cross from sophomore forward Kat Zalar.
Junior midfielder Stephanie Dillon scored MU's second goal in the 60th minute after she turned to lose her defender and found open space in the box. Three minutes later, junior forward Rachel Marble scored her fourth goal of the season and the last goal of the game.
The victory snapped the RedHawks' three-match winless streak and moved them into the final home seed for next weekend's MAC Tournament.
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Dillon said the win will reenergize the team before it heads into its last regular season game.
"I think we got back our energy and our passion for the game," Dillon said. "Kind of getting on track and a really good way to go into next Thursday."
Miami plays Ball State University Thursday in Oxford, Ohio before playing in the first round of the MAC tournament Sunday.