March 31, 2012

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - The Miami University women's soccer team opened its spring exhibition season Saturday afternoon, falling to Louisville, 3-1, at Cardinal Park Soccer Stadium. Despite the loss, the RedHawks held tough in their first action of the season against a Cardinal team that is coming off its best season in program history, making it to the NCAA Tournament Sweet 16 last year, and already won a tournament and beat Vanderbilt, 3-0, during its spring season this year.

"When I look at how we played today, we're obviously a young team but I think we've matured and that was the thing I really took away from the game," head coach Bobby Kramig said. "Our players were much more composed on the field, which is interesting against a top-20 team. I think we grew as a team."

After Miami opened the game strong, Louisville began to control play and capitalized with a goal with roughly five minutes remaining in the opening half to grab a 1-0 lead.

"We started off the game well but got a bit shaky as the first half went on. We were doing too much defending and weren't able to keep the ball," Kramig said.

The RedHawks used halftime to catch their breath and gain their composure and came out more poised in the second half, creating some chances. Miami pulled even at 1-1 about 10 minutes into the second stanza on a goal by rising junior Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.). Classmate Sydney Busch (Salinas, Calif.) set up the play with a great cross from the right side that Zakrzewski headed in from the far post.

Miami continued to hang tough until the Cardinals regained the lead near the 65th minute off a corner kick to make it 2-1.

"I was unhappy with our effort on the corner kick," Kramig said. "Louisville has us physically outmatched across the board and is stronger than we are but we didn't even attempt to challenge on the corner, giving them a header. I was disappointed in that."

The Cardinals then completed the scoring on a counter attack to make it 3-1 with 15 minutes remaining in the contest. Zakrzewski had a chance late in the game to close within one but her header went just wide.

Miami split goalkeepers in the match as rising junior Madison Ryan (Marietta, Ga.) played the first half while rising sophomore Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) was in net for the final 45 minutes.

"I thought the quality of our play was reasonably good for this time of year and our first spring outing," Kramig said. "I was very pleased with the play of our two centerbacks, Courtney Zanotti and Sam Parrish. Kelsey Dinges had a terrific game in the midfield for us. She showed a lot of composure and possessed the ball a lot, settling the ball when it needed to be settled. Kayla was Kayla, always dangerous down the left side and Emily Hyde had a nice run on the right side of the midfield."

The RedHawks continue their spring season Wednesday, April 4 at Northern Kentucky with kickoff set for 7:30 p.m.