OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University soccer team is at its best when the game is on the line.
The RedHawks, which defeated No. 20 Tennessee, 3-2, in overtime in the first round of the NCAA Tournament Sunday, have now won nine one-goal games this season and three in overtime.
"We are special," said sophomore Kelsey Dinges, who scored the game-tying goal against the Lady Vols. "We just always believe in each other and we never quit for each other."
With its win over Tennessee, Miami (20-2-1) broke the school record for most wins in a season and extended its school-record unbeaten streak to 16 games. The last Miami team to reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament was the 2002 team, which held the previous record for most wins with 19.
"They never quit," coach Bobby Kramig said. "They are unwilling to give up, they are unwilling to concede and they are unwilling to surrender. They don't like to lose."
"I wish I could sit here and say that we put that in them, but I think it's just something that has developed through the team. As we've moved forward through the season they've just had this belief in one another that they will find a way to win."
Dinges' game-tying goal against Tennessee came with only nine seconds left in regulation. The midfielder capitalized on a Lady Vols turnover and found the back of the net on a ball that dipped over the outstretched hands of the keeper and under the crossbar.
"It was just a prayer," Kramig said. "The Tennessee kid should have cleared the ball, didn't do it. We picked up the loose ball and it was bouncing, and she just left foot bang!"
Dinges added, "It ended up on my left foot and I hit a left-footed volley. We practice volleys all the time, literally every week, so I guess it paid off."
Dinges' goal, her 11th of the season, was not the first time she had scored a big goal in the closing seconds this year, however. She also scored the game-winning goal at Northern Illinois Oct. 12 with only four seconds remaining to break a 2-2 tie.
Unlike at NIU, Dinges' goal at UT only tied the game and forced overtime where junior Kayla Zakrzewski netted the game-winner, booting the ball into the lower right corner of the net. Zakrzewski, who was named to Top Drawer Soccer's Team of the Week Monday, has nine goals and 10 assists this season.
"After a while you just figure that's our style, that's just how we do it," Kramig said. "Every team has its own personality. They are very confident and they really enjoy playing with each other."
Senior captain Jess Kodiak leads the team with 12 goals and 12 helpers. Freshman Haley Walter has nine goals with nine assists, while junior Katy Dolesh has tallied nine scores and eight assists.
The RedHawks play third-seeded and No. 15 Duke in the second round of the NCAA Tournament Friday in Charlottesville, Va. at 4 p.m.
The Blue Devils (13-5-2) defeated Loyola Maryland in the opening round, 6-0.
The winner of Friday's match will advance to the third round where it will play the winner of No. 2 Virginia and Rutgers Sunday at 4 p.m.