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Soccer drops first two MAC games

Ruisi Luo - The Miami Student
Ruisi Luo - The Miami Student

Miami soccer (2-6-1, 0-2 Mid-American) had a tough weekend against Bowling Green State University and the University of Toledo. The RedHawks were unable to come away with any points to open Mid-American Conference play, losing 2-0 to the Falcons and 2-1 to the Rockets.

The home team got off to a slow start in Friday's match against Bowling Green, conceding a goal less than two minutes into the contest. A poor back-pass forced junior defender Lydia Brosnahan to commit a foul at the very top of the box, and Falcons' junior midfielder Chelsee Washington ripped an unstoppable shot on the ensuing free kick to give the visitors an early lead.

"It's disappointing to start the conference off with a loss," MU head coach Courtney Sirmans said. "But there are positives to take away. We just need to be braver and more courageous when we play. You have to take risks in this game."

Miami struggled to create chances in the first half, as BGSU outshot the RedHawks 10-2 and dominated possession for much of the first 45 minutes. Senior midfielder Bianca Medancic entered in the 30th minute to give the 'Hawks with a spark off the bench.

Despite the Falcons' dominance, the Red & White entered the break trailing by only one goal.

Miami almost scored the equalizer early in the second half after Medancic beat two defenders in the box and pulled a shot just inches wide of the far post. There were few scoring chances after her near-miss.

Bowling Green secured an insurance goal in the 71st minute, converting off a corner kick and doubling its lead.

The score stood and the Falcons won 2-0. The 18-7 shot margin tested Miami's senior goalkeeper Pat Koutoulas, but she came up with six saves.

"On a positive note, this was better than the last game [against Xavier], but we need to be better going forward," Sirmans said.

Miami was far more threatening in attack Sunday against Toledo, outshooting the Rockets 16-10 in the match, but couldn't complete the comeback after falling behind 2-0 through 51 minutes of play.

Senior defender Kirsten Fehlan nearly put the RedHawks on the board first, when she redirected a corner kick on goal in the 15th minute, but it was cleared off the line.

The Rockets earned a 1-0 lead in the 35th minute when freshman midfielder Elbony Rodriguez tucked a deflected cross into the back of the net. Once again, Miami entered halftime down by one.

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Toledo padded its lead soon after the second half began. Koutoulas managed to make the initial save, but the ball careened off the post and flew across the goal where it was easily tapped in by a waiting attacker.

MU stepped up the attack after falling behind 2-0, but wasn't rewarded until the 71st minute when freshman forward Lyda Bogdanovitch scored from the left side of the box off an assist from freshman midfielder Kristina DeMarco. It was Bogdanovitch's third goal of the season.

The 'Hawks comeback effort became even more difficult in the 79th minute when Brosnahan was given a red card for a foul inside the box, giving the Rockets a chance to increase their lead and reducing Miami to 10 players on the field.

Though Toledo missed the penalty kick, it held the advantage to hand Miami its second defeat in three days.

Sirmans didn't comment after the game.

Koutoulas had her hands full over the weekend, making 11 saves in the two games.

The RedHawks will be on the road for their next three conference matches, beginning with rival Ohio University on Friday. Kickoff is at 4 p.m.