HUNTINGTON, W.Va. – For the fourth-straight game, Miami’s women’s soccer team was edged by just one goal, this time by a 1-0 score at Marshall on Sunday afternoon. The RedHawks (3-5-0) surrendered a goal in the 24th minute and couldn’t get the offense going on the field turf at the Thundering Herd’s (5-2-1) new soccer complex.
Miami’s high-powered offense, which averaged 2.71 goals per game entering the match, had been held to fewer than two goals just once through its first seven games this season. The team’s last shutout loss came over a year ago on Sept. 14, 2012 to IPFW.
“I didn’t think we competed particularly well today,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “I didn’t think our energy level was where it needed to be. It has to be better. I think we struggled a little with the playing surface, their brand new field turf, but we have to go up to Akron and Buffalo to play on it next week. We beat Valparaiso on it earlier in the season.”
Just over midway through the first half Marshall got loose in midfield and moved into the Miami defensive half. Sydney Arnold crossed the ball from the right corner and found leading scorer Myka DeMarco open at the top of the penalty area. DeMarco fired the shot from 20 yards out and found the top of the net over Miami senior goalkeeper Allison Norenberg for the 1-0 advantage.
“We had a defensive breakdown that gave them some room to play,” Kramig said. “We didn’t get enough pressure on them and they had a good finish in the upper 90 from the top of the box. We should never allow them to have that look at our goal. They’re a good team and will finish that almost every time.”
The RedHawks limited the offensive opportunities for Marshall throughout the game, allowing just one other shot on goal which Norenberg safely collected.
“I was pleased with our back four,” Kramig said. “We made a couple changes and I thought we played well back there. [Freshman] Rachel Marble played very well. [Fellow freshman] Dana Miller had a very good game back there. The upside of this game is we didn’t allow very many chances.”
Miami controlled the play in the second half, keeping the ball in the offensive half for most of the final 45 minutes. Despite maintaining possession and taking six shots in the half, the RedHawks only placed one shot on goal, which Marshall keeper Lizzie Kish turned away to preserve her fifth shutout of the year.
Kish made three saves to improve to 5-2-1 while Norenberg stopped one shot to fall to 2-5-0. Senior Kayla Zakrzewski, junior Kelsey Dinges and sophomore Haley Walter, who had her four-game goal streak snapped, each had a shot on goal for Miami to lead the offense in the final non-conference game of the season before starting Mid-American Conference play next weekend.
“We’re a better team than we showed today,” Kramig said. “I have total confidence in our team. Everything we’ve been doing so far is about competing in the MAC, competing for a MAC championship, and I have every confidence we can do that. The lesson from this game is we have to come ready to play every game from the start.”
Up next for the RedHawks is a road trip to take on league foes Akron and Buffalo on Sept. 27 and 29, respectively. The team’s first home MAC match is Friday, Oct. 4 against rival Ohio.