OXFORD, Ohio - Putting a five-game winning streak on the line, the Miami University women's soccer team looks to remain unbeaten in Mid-American Conference play this weekend when the RedHawks entertain Western Michigan Friday and Eastern Michigan Sunday. Friday's contest is set for 4 p.m. while Sunday's match is slated for 1 p.m.
The entire weekend is soccer's Alumni Weekend with several former RedHawks returning to campus. An alumni game will be held at Miami Soccer Field Saturday at 11 a.m. The game is free and open to the public. Sunday will be Senior Day as Miami's senior duo of Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) and Kelly Sullivan (Wilton, Conn.) will be honored prior to the game.
The RedHawks (10-2-0, 4-0-0 MAC) improved to 6-0-0 on the road this year with a pair of MAC wins last weekend. Miami had never previously won its first six games away from home in program history. The 'Hawks topped rival Ohio for the fourth straight year last Friday as Kodiak scored the contest's only goal in the 77th minute to lift Miami to a 1-0 win. On Sunday, the RedHawks continued to roll, topping Kent State, 4-2. Four different 'Hawks scored goals while freshman defender Lauren Kelly (Manhattan, Ill.) tallied the game-winner, her first career goal, in the 70th minute. Junior Katy Dolesh (Chardon, Ohio) had a goal and an assist in the contest.
With the two victories, Miami topped its win total from all of 2011 while the 10-2 start is Miami's best since starting 14-2-0 in 1999. The RedHawks' 4-0 start in league play is their best since 2002. Miami rests atop the MAC standings as the only unbeaten team in the East Division while Eastern Michigan is the only unbeaten team in the West Division. The RedHawks also returned to the NSCAA/Continental Tire Great Lakes Region Poll for the third time this year, coming in at No. 9 as the only MAC team ranked among nine Big Ten teams.
Miami enters the weekend leading the MAC offensively, averaging 2.83 goals per game, which is 11th nationally. No one else in the league is scoring over two goals per contest. Kodiak leads the RedHawk attack with 20 points, including a team-best eight goals, both of which rank second in the MAC. Freshman Haley Walter (Cincinnati, Ohio) is second on the team with 16 points, which is third in the MAC, on five goals and six assists, which ties for the MAC lead. Sophomore Kelsey Dinges (Smithton, Ill.) is second on the team with six goals while junior Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.) is tied with Walter for the MAC lead with six assists. Five RedHawks have scored at least four goals this season while Miami has tallied at least four goals in a game six times this year.
Defensively, the RedHawks have been nearly as dominant as Miami ranks second in the MAC with a 0.74 goals-against average. With their clean sheet against the Bobcats, the 'Hawks have now pitched six shutouts this season, tying for the MAC lead, while allowing just nine goals all season. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) has started all 12 games in net and played all but 50 minutes this year, compiling a 0.77 GAA, which ranks second in the league. She has recorded four of the shutouts herself, combining for the other two, while posting a .780 save percentage.
Western Michigan (5-5-2, 1-1-2 MAC) comes to Oxford after splitting a pair of matches last weekend. The Broncos fell to Central Michigan, 1-0, last Friday, before rebounding for a 1-0 win over Bowling Green Sunday. The victory snapped a six-game winless streak for WMU, who is tied for fifth in the West Division. The Broncos average exactly a goal a game, which is eighth in the league, led by Rachel Chaney's four goals and nine points. Diana Dedvukaj has a pair of goals and assists each. WMU is right behind Miami defensively in third, conceding 0.92 goals per game. Bronco goalkeeper Michelle Watson has played every minute in net and has a 0.88 GAA, which is also third in the conference, as well as a .718 save percentage and three shutouts.
The RedHawks are 12-3-1 all-time against the Broncos but are winless in their last three meetings with WMU. The Broncos blanked Miami in Oxford last year, 2-0, and have won two straight matches at Miami, not allowing a goal either time.
Eastern Michigan (7-3-1, 4-0-0 MAC), who plays at Ball State Friday before traveling to Oxford for a first-place showdown Sunday, is riding a four-game win streak after going .500 in non-conference play. The teams' only common opponent is IUPUI, with EMU winning 2-0 while Miami defeated the Jaguars, 5-0. The Eagles are third in the league scoring 1.73 goals per game, led by Angela Vultaggio, who has 15 points, which is fourth in the MAC, on five goals and assists each. Bianca Rossi also has five goals while Cara Cutaia has a team-high six assists. EMU sits fourth in the MAC defensively with a 0.98 GAA while pitching five shutouts. Jenna O'Dell has played every minute in goal for the Eagles, compiling an .863 save percentage, which leads the MAC.
EMU holds a slight, 9-8-2 edge in the all-time series with Miami. The RedHawks lost to the Eagles on the road in overtime a year ago, 2-1, and haven't beaten Eastern Michigan in Oxford since 2006. Miami has topped EMU just twice since then, both times coming in 2009.
Friday's game against Western Michigan will be streamed live on MURedHawks.com through the Miami All-Access subscription package, as will Miami's final two home games of 2012. In all, over 100 home Miami sporting events will be broadcast through Miami All-Access during the 2012-13 season. To purchase Miami All-Access, click here. Live stats will be available for both matches this weekend on MURedHawks.com.
Be sure to wear red to Friday's game against the Broncos to show your support for Miami as part of "All-In Fridays". "All-In Fridays" is an endeavor to build unity amongst Miami campus faculty, staff and students, the Oxford community and Miami alumni. Fans can also tweet pictures of themselves wearing red to @MiamiRedHawks with the hashtag #AllinFridays or post pictures on Swoop's Facebook page. For more information on "All-In Fridays," click here.
Following soccer's Alumni Weekend, Miami goes back on the road, playing at Northern Illinois Friday, Oct. 12 before turning around to take on Toledo Sunday, Oct. 14.