April 22, 2011

OXFORD, Ohio - After battling through injuries early in its spring season, the Miami University women’s soccer team capped its seven-match exhibition slate with a pair of 2-0 wins, including the finale over Big Ten foe Indiana Wednesday night in Bloomington. The RedHawks finished the spring with a 4-2-1 record, also knocking off Indiana State in their lone home match of the spring 2-0 on April 16.

“I thought it was a good spring. I was very pleased with it and felt like it was very productive. We went into the spring with the idea that we needed to be very targeted on working on a couple of specific things, primarily around our defense,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “We graduated three of our four starting backs and certainly reorganizing our back four was our number one priority going into the spring and number two was improving the way we defended in the midfield. I felt like the Indiana game was the culmination of that and very reflective of the progress we made.”

Miami controlled much of the match against the Hoosiers, receiving goals from rising sophomore Sydney Busch (Salinas, Calif.) and rising junior Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.). Rising sophomore Madison Ryan (Marietta, Ga.) earned her second straight shutout in net and fourth of the spring season while being aided by strong defense in the midfield and at the back line, despite a young backfield.

“We deserved the win,” Kramig said of the Indiana match. “Madison had a nice game in goal. We worked hard and fought even harder. It was a good way to end the spring.”

The RedHawks had other chances against the Hoosiers to make the margin of victory even larger, but Miami was unable to capitalize on three breakaways as both rising sophomore Katy Dolesh (South Euclid, Ohio) and rising senior Giselle Mangal (Mississauga, Ont.) were turned away by the IU keeper.

Last Saturday (April 16), Miami hosted its lone home match of the spring season and bested another school from the Hoosier State in Indiana State, 2-0. Rising sophomore Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.) struck first for the ‘Hawks with a left-footed blast into the back of the net. Rising senior Courtney Clarke (Scarborough, Ont.) then completed the scoring with a header off a corner kick. Ryan also earned the shutout against the Sycamores.

The RedHawks began their spring campaign with a trio of games in Akron, Ohio March 26. Miami showed little rust coming into the spring, opening with a 5-0 crushing of Duquesne, as the ‘Hawks got goals from Dolesh and Zakrzewski among others. In the second game of the tripleheader, Miami’s injuries at the back line caught up to them as the Mid-American Conference rival Zips topped the ‘Hawks 4-1. The Red and White rebounded nicely however, holding off Ashland, 1-0 in the night cap. Ryan played all three games in goal March 26, earning both shutouts.

“We knew going into the spring that our biggest challenge was our back four. One of our defenders got hurt at the end of the Duquesne game and Akron was next and that’s where we paid the price,” Kramig said. “Despite the score, we’re making progress as a group and believe we’ll continue to improve as spring goes on.”

The following Saturday, April 2, Miami managed a 1-1 tie with Xavier in Cincinnati, as Mangal tallied the lone score for MU off an assist from rising senior Sarah Dessfelt (Vellinge, Sweden). With a banged up back line, Ryan also helped the ‘Hawks earn a solid draw with her play in goal.

On Friday, April 8, Miami traveled to Louisville, Ky. to take on the Cardinals of the BIG EAST. The teams played the first half 11-on-11 but split the second half into three 15 minute periods with Miami playing a man up (11-on-10) the first 15 minutes, Louisville playing up a player the middle 15 minutes and the sides closed the match back at full strength for the final 15 minutes. The Cardinals led 1-0 at halftime but the ‘Hawks evened it with the extra attacker. However, Louisville notched three goals while it was up a man to make it 4-1. Both teams then added a goal in the final 15 minutes back at 11-on-11 for a 5-2 final score. Kodiak and Dolesh recorded the goals for Miami, who trailed only 2-1 when playing 11-on-11.

“It was a learning experience for our girls,” Kramig said of the second half. “It was a great opportunity to present our team with certain tactical challenges we may face in the fall.”

Miami then closed its spring slate with the 2-0 victories over Indiana State and Indiana this past week. The RedHawks were not blanked once during the spring, managing at least a goal in all seven games. Ryan played every minute of each game as the RedHawks’ netminder during the spring, totaling four clean sheets.

“Spring is always a wonderful opportunity for players who don’t get to play much or at all in the fall,” Kramig said. “Certainly some of our kids did a very good job taking their preparation for the spring very seriously and stepping up and taking advantage of the opportunity that came their way this spring. I was very pleased to see that.”

Miami will release its 2011 fall schedule early next week.