April 5, 2012

HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. - Using a revamped lineup and a new system, the Miami University women’s soccer team battled Northern Kentucky Wednesday night but fell, 3-0, as the RedHawks couldn’t get their offense going at NKU Soccer Stadium in its second spring exhibition of the season. Miami dropped its first spring game to Louisville, 3-1, last Saturday.

“It was a bit of a strange game really. We were doing a lot of experimenting. We experimented with a new system of play and some players playing some unusual spots,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “And this is what spring is for, for these types of experiments, however it did not turn out well and proved to not be an appropriate way for our particular players to play.”

The game was played using three 30-minute periods rather than the traditional two 45-minute halves. The first period was scoreless but was played almost entirely in the NKU defensive third as the Norse crossed midfield just twice. However, NKU had almost its entire team back on defense, limiting space and making it tough for the ‘Hawks to create scoring chances.

In the second period, Miami tried to open the game up but the Norse took advantage, scoring first midway through the second stanza. The RedHawks turned the ball over at the top of the box on a sloppy pass, giving NKU an open look at goal to make it 1-0. Northern Kentucky made it 2-0 with about five minutes left in the middle frame off a free kick. After sending a long ball in over Miami’s wall, the ‘Hawks were unable to clear and the Norse cleaned up the bouncing ball into the net.

“We tried to make some adjustments at the first break to open the game a bit and it laid us open to some counter attacks that we paid for,” Kramig noted.

Rising sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) played the first 45 minutes in net, allowing the first goal, before being replaced by rising junior netminder Madison Ryan (Marietta, Ga.) shortly after NKU’s first goal in the second period. Ryan played the rest of the match in goal, conceding two tallies as the Norse finished the scoring in the final frame on a counter attack to make it 3-0 after the game had opened up considerably.

“I was disappointed. I knew going into the game we were going to be asking a lot of our backs. Expectations defensively weren’t real high. That said, I do believe we’re capable of doing better in the back,” Kramig said. “The thing that was most disappointing to me was the lack of production offensively. We played far too many square balls and we were too content to play in front of them instead of trying to get behind them.”

The RedHawks started to generate chances in the third period but it was too little, too late as Miami dropped the 3-0 decision.

“They were physical with us but we didn’t do the things we needed to. We need to get players running forward out of the midfield and we need our forwards to do a better job of finishing,” Kramig said. “We were set up to attack against NKU but we were very timid in our approach. We got away from the things that define us and need to get back to being ourselves.”

Miami looks to right the ship Tuesday when it travels to Lexington, Ky. for an exhibition match against the Kentucky Wildcats at 7 p.m.