OXFORD, Ohio - Using its speed and a deep bench, the Miami University women's soccer team wore down Austin Peay Friday at Miami Soccer Field en route to a three-goal second half, as the RedHawks downed the Lady Govs, 4-0. Miami (5-1-0) has now won three straight matches and continues its best start since 1999 with the victory over APSU (3-4-0).
The Lady Govs had the first good chance on net as Tatiana Ariza was able to get past the RedHawk defense on the left side in the sixth minute but redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) made a diving save to prevent an early goal. Miami then asserted itself and had several chances early as well, including a shot by sophomore Kelsey Dinges (Smithton, Ill.) in the 11th minute that hit the right post and bounced out to junior Katy Dolesh (Chardon, Ohio), who fired her own shot, but it was stopped by Lady Govs goalkeeper Haylee Shoaff.
The RedHawks continued to apply pressure but were unable to breakthrough until receiving a bit of luck in the 41st minute. Junior defender Sam Parrish (Noblesville, Ind.) sent a long clearance upfield toward the APSU end. Shoaff charged toward the bouncing ball just outside the 18-yard box but APSU defender Renny Robinson attempted to head the ball back to Shoaff, who was already well off her line, and Robinson ended up heading the ball into her own net for an own goal as Shoaff and Robinson collided.
Miami took its 1-0 lead into halftime after outshooting Austin Peay, 13-3, over the first 45 minutes, while earning three corner kicks. Shoaff did make five saves in the opening period to keep the Lady Govs close.
"I knew we were going to be able to get at these guys and would have been disappointed if we didn't get a few goals," head coach Bobby Kramig said. "Defensively I thought we were a bit too cautious in the first half, but it got better towards the end of the first half and much better in the second half."
Coming out of the break, the 'Hawks left several of their subs on the pitch and began to tire out APSU. Miami doubled its lead in the 54th minute as freshman midfielder Katee Wensinger (Stow, Ohio), who played 32 minutes off the bench, scored her first career goal. Senior captain Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) took a feed from freshman Lauren Mathews (Hamilton, Ohio) along the baseline and turned toward the front of the net, ripping a shot that Shoaff saved but the rebound went right to Wensinger, who was there for the putaway.
"I definitely thought we were more fit than Austin Peay. I felt like we did wear them down a bit," Kramig said. "We're fast, let's not try and disguise that. We've got tremendous speed going down both flanks and coming up the middle of the field as well. We're also very fit and to have (the opposition) have to deal with those kids all the time. We are able to wear teams out and even though Austin Peay had a good game plan to prevent that, our kids did a good job of going to plan B and finding ways to score."
The RedHawks made it 3-0 in the 67th minute, taking advantage of its speed on the flanks. Freshman Morgan Beck (Cincinnati, Ohio) played a through ball toward the right corner flag, where it was chased down by classmate Haley Walter (Cincinnati, Ohio). Walter then beat her defender on the baseline and sent in a perfect cross to junior Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.), who was waiting in front of the goal for the tap-in. Beck earned her first collegiate point on the play, assisting on Zakrzewski's second tally of the season.
Walter again used her quickness to cap the scoring, once more flying down the right flank before sending a cross into the box, where redshirt junior Kelly Sullivan (Wilton, Conn.) settled the ball and blasted it into the goal, far post to finish off the 4-0 victory. The tally was the first career point of any kind for Sullivan, who contributed 14 strong minutes off the pine, while Walter finished with a pair of helpers on the day and now has three goals and three assists in her last three games.
"I thought our bench turned the game for us, I really did. Courtney Zanotti changed the game for us when she went in. Lauren Kelly was good coming in off the bench. Hailey Pleshakov in the first half and Lauren Mathews both added a lot. Of course Kelly Sullivan and Katee Wensinger getting goals off the bench in the second half," Kramig said. "That's the thing about this team - we've got more depth this year than we've had in a long, long time. As the season goes on, we're learning how to use it more effectively and kids are stepping up."
Miami finished with a 20-10 advantage in shots, including 11-5 on goal, and also earned nine corner kicks to APSU's one. Shoaff totaled seven saves in a strong effort despite the loss while Norenberg recorded five stops to earn her fifth win of the year. A total of 20 'Hawks saw the field Friday with 16 playing over 30 minutes.
The RedHawks are off the rest of the weekend but remain at home for their next match, Friday, Sept. 14 when Miami hosts IPFW at 5 p.m. at Miami Soccer Field.