OXFORD, Ohio - Sophomore Kelsey Dinges scored two goals and junior Kayla Zakrzewski broke a tie game late to lead the Miami University women's soccer team to a 4-3 victory over Eastern Michigan Sunday at Miami Soccer Field on Senior Day. The victory extended Miami's win streak to seven games, the RedHawks' (12-2-0, 6-0-0 Mid-American Conference) longest since a seven-game win streak in 2002.
Miami remained perfect in the MAC and sits alone in first place with 18 points, three ahead of Central Michigan and eight clear of Kent State in the East Division. By earning a win against Eastern Michigan, the RedHawks have now tied their best MAC start in school history, also doing so in 2002 when the team started 6-0. Eastern Michigan fell to 7-5-1 overall and 4-2-0 in MAC play with the loss.
The RedHawks found themselves behind for the first time in MAC play this season when Angela Vultaggio received a strong pass from teammate Cara Cutaia in the 14th minute and laid the ball into the far corner of the net, passed redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.), to take a 1-0 lead over Miami.
The Eagles were able to hold off the RedHawks for no more than six minutes. Freshman Haley Walter (Cincinnati, Ohio) used her speed to carry the ball down the right side of the field before centering it to senior Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) in the box. Under pressure from the Eagles' defense, Kodiak passed back to Dinges (Smithton, Ill.), who blasted a shot past goalkeeper Jenna O'Dell to level the game 1-1.
Kodiak and Dinges paired up for a second time in the 27th minute, putting pressure on EMU's defense once again. Dancing past the Eagle defenders, Kodiak set up Dinges with a tight pass that she booted over the goalkeeper's hands from just inside the 18-yard box, giving Miami a 2-1 lead. Dinges now has eight goals on the year, tying Kodiak for the team lead, while Kodiak holds a team-high 22 points with six assists.
Despite two more shots taken by Eastern Michigan late in the half, Miami held on to its 2-1 lead going into the break, while compiling a 6-3 advantage in shots.
Miami kept its momentum going at the start of the second half, scoring a third goal in the 52nd minute. Freshman Morgan Beck (Cincinnati, Ohio) dribbled down the right side of the field into the corner of the box. Fighting off a defender, Beck managed a short pass into the center of box where junior Katy Dolesh (Chardon, Ohio) was able to tap the ball into the net past the unsuspecting goalkeeper. It was Dolesh's fifth tally of the year.
Despite holding a two-goal advantage, Miami was unable to keep the Eagles off the board for long. In the 67th minute, EMU's Megan Trapp maneuvered around a RedHawk defender and ripped a shot from inside the box that just slipped past Norenberg's grasp, making it a one-goal game.
The Eagles struck again in the 84th minute to tie the game. A mix of RedHawks and Eagles rapidly fought to win the ball within Miami's box. The RedHawks were unable to clear it from their side of the field however, allowing the ball to slip to the feet of Martha Stevens. With a light tap from Stevens, the ball trickled into the left corner of the net, tying the contest at 3-3 with six minutes to go in regulation.
The RedHawks retaliated quickly, moving the ball into Eastern Michigan territory off the ensuing kickoff. Quiet for most the match, Zakrzewski (London, Ont.) cleaned up the rebound of a shot by freshman Jess Bronke (Downers Grove, Ill.) and drilled the game-winning goal past the Eagles' goalkeeper just 42 seconds after Eastern Michigan drew even. Zakrzewski 's sixth goal of the year with 5:24 remaining sealed the 4-3 victory.
The RedHawks finished with a 12-6 shot advantage and finished with a 6-4 edge in corner kicks, including the only two of the second half. Both keepers totaled three saves in the contest while Dinges took a game-high four shots, all of which were on goal.
Prior to the game, Kodiak and fellow senior Kelly Sullivan (Wilton, Conn.) were honored as part of Senior Day.
Looking to extend its win streak and keep its flawless MAC record, Miami will travel to DeKalb, Ill. to take on Northern Illinois Friday Oct. 12. Kickoff is set for 4 p.m. ET.