OXFORD, Ohio – Jumping out to a two-goal lead, the Miami University women’s soccer team looked poised for a big win over Louisville, but the Cardinals rallied in the second half and clipped the RedHawks in overtime, handing Miami a 3-2 loss Sunday afternoon at Miami Soccer Field. The RedHawks (3-2-0) saw their three-match win streak snapped in defeat while Louisville (2-2-1), which has played a very difficult schedule, picked up its first win since the season opener.
Miami came out attacking early, earning a corner kick less than a minute into the match. The RedHawks then struck first in the 16th minute with some crisp passing. Junior midfielder Kelsey Dinges played a through ball to senior midfielder Kayla Zakrzewski down the left side. Zakrzewski then one-timed a cross to the opposite side of the goal where sophomore midfielder Haley Walter was all alone for the putaway. It was her second goal of the year.
Following the RedHawks’ score however, the Cardinals started to get into a rhythm and controlled possession. Louisville nearly tied it in the 25th minute but senior goalkeeper Allison Norenberg made a diving stop to get her fingers on a shot by Christine Exeter that was bending away from Norenberg and forced it outside the post. Ten minutes later, the Cardinals had another close call but Charlyn Corral’s turn and fire hit the post.
“We are set up to do certain things on the field during the game. When we stop doing those things and go away from those things, we’re not as good or effective. I felt like the first 15-20 minutes of the game, we went out and did the things we we’re supposed to be doing. Then when we got the lead, for whatever reason we decided we were going to sit back and defend it and we’re not set up to do that,” Miami head coach Bobby Kramig said. “We’re at our best when we’re going forward, we’re attacking and putting other teams under pressure. And when we stop doing that and all we do is sit back and clear the ball, instead of passing, we get into trouble. I thought we got into the mode and it took until halftime to get out of it.”
Miami was able to hold onto its 1-0 lead through the first 45 minutes, despite being outshot 10-3 in the first half. Norenberg came up with three big saves in the opening period to help counter the Cardinal attack, which also earned four of the five corner kicks awarded in the first frame.
After regrouping at the break, the RedHawks again came out playing tough and attacking Louisville. Miami earned a quick foul and Dinges took a free kick from just inside the midfield stripe. Her boot was sent into the box, where Cardinals keeper Paige Brown came out to play it, but she only got a hand on it. The ball bounced right to sophomore midfielder Jess Bronke, who buried it in the open net for a 2-0 Miami lead just 1:02 into the second half. The goal was her second in as many games, after scoring her first career goal at IPFW two days earlier. Dinges also collected her second assist of the day on the play, marking her first career multi-assist contest.
Like in the first half however, Louisville awoke after Miami’s second goal and quickly pulled level on a pair of goals from Corral, who also plays on the Mexican National Team. First, in the 54th minute, Exeter sent a pass that bounced into the box, where Corral chipped it over a charging Norenberg to cut Miami’s lead in half. Then, just 44 seconds later, Corral struck again, dribbling around the Miami defense and ripping a shot from 15 yards just inside the right post past a diving Norenberg to knot the match at 2-2.
“We came out in the second half and got the early goal and then we switched right back into (playing defensive). We can’t play that way. We don’t practice that. That’s not how we play,” Kramig said. “When we get away from the things we do best, like anything, you’re going to get into trouble. I felt like the best thing that happened to us was that second goal (by Louisville) because then we started playing again. The game evened out, we had a couple of good chances.”
With the score tied, possession also started to even out as shots were 9-7 UL in the second stanza. In the 69th minute, Louisville had a good look at goal after some passing put Erin Yenney in alone but Norenberg quickly charged off her line and slid to stop the close-range shot from Yenney. The RedHawks then had two good chances of their own in the final 11 minutes of regulation from senior midfielder Katy Dolesh. First, after some quick passing, Dolesh was in alone on the right side but her blast sailed wide right of the goal. Then, with seven minutes left, the captain sent in a lob shot from just inside the penalty box that caromed off the crossbar, as the match went to overtime – Miami’s first of the year.
Less than 30 seconds into the extra session, Zakrzewski put a shot on target for the ‘Hawks, but Brown was there for the save. Corral then hit the crossbar for Louisville in the second minute of overtime. Corral wasn’t finished however, as in the fifth minute of overtime she set up Nicole Mitchell for the game-winner. Corral tried to pass into the box and a Miami defender deflected it out to the top of the box where Mitchell came flying in and blasted a shot into the right side of the net, giving the Cardinals the 3-2 victory in the 95th minute.
“On the game-winner, we had a little bit of a dive-in on a tackle at midfield and then we missed a check back. Those kinds of things will happen at the end of the game. It’s 90 degrees out here and in overtime,” Kramig said. “It’s not uncommon, but I was proud of the effort and I think we can come out of this with a lot of positives, having learned some valuable lessons that will stand up well for us as the season goes along.”
Louisville finished with a 22-11 edge in shots, 10 of which came off the foot of Corral, however the Cardinals held just a slight 8-6 advantage in shots on goal. Norenberg totaled five saves in the contest while Brown compiled four. Corner kicks also ended even at 6-6 after Miami earned five corners to UL’s two in the second 45 minutes.
“The lesson in all of this is we need to do what we do and we need to stick with what we’re set up to do,” Kramig added. “That’s the takeaway.”
The RedHawks look to get back on track as they continue a three-game homestand next weekend when they host Milwaukee on Friday, Sept. 13 at 4 p.m. and Purdue on Sunday, Sept. 15 at 1 p.m. Sunday’s match will also be Senior Day.