ATHENS, Ohio - Senior captain Jess Kodiak scored with less than 14 minutes remaining to break a scoreless deadlock and give the Miami University women's soccer team a 1-0 victory over rival Ohio University Friday afternoon at Chessa Field. The RedHawks (9-2-0, 3-0-0 Mid-American Conference) are now riding a season-long four-game win streak, their longest since 2010, and have now beaten the Bobcats (6-5-0, 1-2-0 MAC) four straight meetings for the first time ever.
The first half was relatively even with neither side able to generate many chances. The Bobcats put their lone shot on target just four minutes into the contest, but redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) was there for the stop. Miami managed just two shots on goal in the opening period but neither found the back of the net as the teams went into the break scoreless, despite an 8-5 edge in shots for the 'Hawks.
"It was a really interesting game. It was hard-fought," head coach Bobby Kramig said. "The thing I really liked about this game was how we handled ourselves, kept our poise and stayed patient. We had a lot of composure and didn't get frustrated. Ohio's a tough team to play and a very sound team defensively. We knew coming into the game they weren't going to give up anything easy."
Miami took control in the second half however, keeping the pressure on Ohio over the final 45 minutes. The RedHawks fired several shots in the beginning of the second stanza, including three on goal in the first 15 minutes, but Bobcat keeper Mattie Liston made the save each time to keep the game level.
With just 13:45 left in regulation, the RedHawks finally broke through. Freshman Haley Walter (Cincinnati, Ohio) fired a blast from the right side that Liston was able to make a diving save on but couldn't control and the rebound popped right to Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.), who buried the ball for her team-leading seventh goal of the year. Walter picked up her fifth assist of the season on the game-winner, tying her for the team lead.
The RedHawk defense then stepped up and did not allow the Bobcats another opportunity to draw level as Miami closed out the 1-0 victory to earn its first 3-0 start in MAC play since 2002. The 'Hawks finished with a 22-9 advantage in shots, including 14-4 over the final 45 minutes, while putting 10 shots on goal to Ohio's three. Sophomore Kelsey Dinges (Smithton, Ill.) led Miami with eight shots, including three on target. The RedHawks held an 8-4 edge in corner kicks as well, including 3-0 in the final frame.
"We did an excellent job managing the game, especially at the end when we had the lead," Kramig said. "In soccer, you see a team come into the last 15 minutes with a one-goal lead and you always know the other team is going to get the last one or two chances and OU didn't get them. We never let them in."
Norenberg needed to make just three saves for her fourth shutout of the season. Miami has now pitched six shutouts in 11 matches this year, including two straight, with Norenberg combining for the other two clean sheets. Liston totaled nine saves in defeat with seven coming in the second half.
"We've been having our way with teams lately, scoring three or four goals a game and relying on that. Today it was our defense that was organized and shaped the whole day. They kept us in it and kept us going until we could find the goal," Kramig said. "We need to learn how to win these games too. It's important for us to realize we can get these games and how you go about winning these games."
The RedHawks look to remain unbeaten in league play and extend their win streak to five Sunday when Miami plays at Kent State. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m.