CINCINNATI – Getting its first taste of competition in 2013, the Miami University women’s soccer team showed little signs of rust in topping local rival Xavier, 3-0, Saturday night at the XU Soccer Complex in the RedHawks’ lone exhibition of the season.
Miami controlled play from the opening tap, dominating possession over the first 10 minutes. The RedHawks quickly earned a pair of corner kicks in the opening five minutes and sophomore midfielder Haley Walter drilled the post in that span, but was flagged for offsides. Miami nearly scored again minutes later but sophomore midfielder Jess Bronke’s header sailed just wide at the far post.
With 30:15 left in the first half, senior midfielder Katy Dolesh did put the RedHawks up 1-0 with a textbook goal. Junior midfielder Kelsey Dinges beat her defender out wide and sent a cross into the box from the endline that an unmarked Dolesh headed home inside the six-yard box.
The Musketeers were held without a shot until the 20th minute, when possession started to level out, but the shot was blocked by junior back Courtney Zanotti. The first half ended with the ‘Hawks up 1-0 and holding a 4-1 advantage in corner kicks. Miami also outshot Xavier, 7-5, over the first 45 minutes, including 2-1 in shots on goal.
“We had good strong performances across the board. I can’t really be critical of anyone. I thought all of them played well,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “It was nice to see the freshmen get into the game and for the most part they responded well. Overall, it was a good night for us.”
To start the second half, the RedHawks sent out mostly reserves, including several freshmen getting their initial look at collegiate competition. Miami’s offense did not show any signs of slowing down, however.
Freshman midfielder Taylor Jackson played a role in a pair of Miami goals in a matter of three minutes. First, Jackson sent in a long corner kick that sophomore midfielder Katie Mazurek buried with her head at the far post in the 57th minute to double the RedHawks’ lead. Less than three minutes later, Jackson scored a goal of her own as she received a crisp through ball from classmate Rachel Marble that put her on a breakaway to slot the ball past XU keeper Katie Markesbery for a 3-0 Miami lead.
All three RedHawk goalkeepers saw action, each playing roughly 30 minutes. Senior Allison Norenberg started in net and made one save before being replaced by junior Danielle Wiseman with 15 minutes remaining in the opening stanza. Wiseman also played the first 15 minutes of the second stanza, halting a Xavier breakaway by charging off her line and forcing a shot wide. Freshman Vic Maniaci then played the final 30 minutes in goal, making the toughest save of the day with a finger-tip save to knock the ball over the crossbar. Maniaci and Wiseman each finished with a pair of saves.
“We talked about the goals going into this. Things that we wanted to accomplish, and I felt like we met all those goals. What we came here to do, we did,” Kramig said. “We got to play (pretty much) everybody at least 30 minutes, which was a goal going in. I thought we defended well for the most part. We got a little disorganized there at the end, probably sitting on a three-goal lead and getting a little bit tired, we got a little sloppy. We can’t have that. That will come back to bite us if we don’t take care of it. But overall, it was pretty good.”
Despite Xavier outshooting the RedHawks, 11-10, including 6-3 in the second half, Miami held a 9-2 edge in corner kicks for the match. Jackson and Dolesh led the ‘Hawks with two shots each, while all 25 healthy RedHawks saw action, each playing at least 15 minutes.
With its lone exhibition behind them, Miami, the defending Mid-American Conference champions, opens the 2013 regular season Friday, Aug. 23 at Illinois State with kickoff set for 5 p.m. ET in Normal, Ill.