TOLEDO, Ohio - Behind strong defense and goalkeeping, the Miami University women's soccer team made an early goal hold up en route to a 1-0 victory over Toledo Sunday afternoon at a windy and rainy Scott Park. The RedHawks (14-2-0, 8-0-0 Mid-American Conference) earned their first win at Toledo (6-9-1, 5-3-1 MAC) since 2002 while remaining atop the MAC standings.
Miami extended its winning streak to a program record nine games while also prolonging its best start in MAC play in Miami history. The RedHawks also remained perfect on the road this year at 8-0-0, doing so for the first time ever. The win over Toledo clinches a home quarterfinal game for Miami in the MAC Tournament on Sunday, Oct. 28 as the 'Hawks can finish no worse than third in the league even with three regular-season games still remaining.
"I don't think we played our best soccer this weekend but winning on the road in this conference is really difficult and our girls are showing that they know how to compete and win the games when they're not playing particularly well," head coach Bobby Kramig said.
The Rockets applied pressure in the early going, earning three corners and sending in several shots, but redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) stopped both shots that came her way. Miami had the best chance, however, in the 11th minute when senior Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) rung a shot off the post.
The RedHawks kept attacking and scored the game's only goal in the 20th minute when junior Katy Dolesh (Chardon, Ohio) ripped a blast into the upper corner of the goal from 25 yards out for her seventh score of the year. Sophomore Kelsey Dinges (Smithton, Ill.) earned the assist on the play, as she is now tied for the team lead with Kodiak with 23 points.
Toledo looked to pull even over the next 10 minutes, firing three shots, but Miami kept the Rockets off the scoreboard. The 'Hawks then flipped the field, garnering three corners in the closing minutes of the half but couldn't add to their lead as Miami went into the break ahead. UT outshot Miami in the half, 7-6, with both sides making three saves in the stanza.
The second half saw more back-and-forth play, but neither team was able to find the back of the net. Toledo took five shots in the final 45 minutes while Miami booted four but the RedHawk defense again held strong to close out the 1-0 victory.
"Today was a day where the defense won the game for us. The kids showed a lot of courage, a lot commitment and a lot of heart to make that one goal stand up," Kramig said. "I'm very pleased to get the shutout. I thought Allison (Norenberg) had a nice game and (assistant coach) Nate (Lie) did a great job managing our back four today."
Norenberg totaled four saves in the match to record her sixth shutout of the season, which ties for third in school single-season history, two shy of tying the record. Sunday was Miami's eighth shutout as a team, with Norenberg combining for the other two. Norenberg now has 10 shutouts in her career, which ties for second in school history. Toledo keeper Kelsey Borowitz finished with three saves in defeat.
Even in the win, Miami was outshot, 12-10, but earned seven corner kicks, including five in the first half, while the Rockets totaled six corners. Dolesh and Kodiak led the 'Hawks with three shots each.
The RedHawks can clinch the MAC regular-season title with a win Friday, Oct. 19 at Central Michigan, which sits atop the West Division, just three points behind Miami in the overall standings. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. The RedHawks then host Bowling Green on Sunday, Oct. 21.