OXFORD, Ohio – Miami Women’s Soccer overcame a speedy Kent State team and a rain-soaked field to extend its unbeaten streak to three games with a 1-0 win Sunday at the Miami Soccer Field. The RedHawks improved to 5-6-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the Mid-American Conference despite being outshot 12-10, including 4-2 in shots on goal, and surrendering 10 corner kick opportunities to the Golden Flashes, who fell to 7-5-0 and 2-2-0 in the MAC.
“With conditions that didn’t particularly favor us, the girls just had to grind it out,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “It was a good, professional effort. We talked to them before the game about the need to get the early goal and we did that. All credit to Kent, they put a lot of pressure on us and we did a good job making it hold up.”
The Flashes pressured the Miami defense from the opening kick, earning three corners and a shot on goal between the 2:30 and 3:30 mark of opening half. Each time Kent State attacked, senior goalkeeper Allison Norenberg and the rest of the Miami defense stopped the attack.
“They’re really direct,” Kramig said of the Flashes’ offensive attack. “They just pound the ball forward and chase after it. I thought a few times in the first half our back four got a little flat footed. I think we figured it out and read it a lot better in the second half.”
After clearing the third corner in a row, the RedHawks moved the ball up field and started a counter-attack. The team kept the ball in the offensive half for the next two minute before working the ball to the middle of the field in the Kent penalty where senior forward and leading scorer Katy Dolesh took over possession and fired a shot on goal in the sixth minute. Kent State keeper Stephanie Senn made the save, but couldn’t control the ball as Dolesh regained possession, pushed it to her left and to fellow senior Kayla Zakrzewski who finished it into the back of the net from 10 yards out for her fourth goal of the year with 14:17 remaining on the clock in the first half.
Throughout the rest of the first half, the teams traded attacks with neither team gaining much of an advantage. The Flashes’ best opportunity in the half came with 19:18 left on the clock when the team gained three corners in a row, but Miami again stepped up defensively.
In the second half, Kent State tried to get the goal back, firing eight shots with two of them on goal, but again Norenberg made the saves to preserve her fourth shutout of the year.
The Golden Flashes’ best opportunity came at the end of the 58th minute when they worked the ball into the Miami penalty box and sent in a close-range shot. Norenberg made the save, but the ball sat in a puddle in front of the goal where the visitors picked it up and sent in another shot. This time the Miami defenders stepped in front of the ball, blocking the shot and clearing it out of the zone.
“It was part of the conditions,” Norenberg said about the scoring opportunity. “[The ball can] hit the ground and spray anywhere. I just put my whole body into it.”
The Miami keeper made four saves in the game to improve to 4-6-1 while her counterpart, Senn, stopped one of the two RedHawk shots that were on goal to move to 6-5-0. The Red and White earned two corners on the game.
Miami’s 2-1-1 MAC record puts the team in first place in the league’s East Division and fourth overall behind Western Michigan (4-0-0), Eastern Michigan (4-0-0) and Ball State (3-1-0). The RedHawks take on the top two teams in the conference next weekend as they travel to face the Broncos on Friday, Oct. 11 followed by the Eagles on Sunday, Oct. 13.