OXFORD, Ohio - After a strong start to the 2012 season last weekend with a pair of shutout victories, the Miami University women's soccer team will face a much taller task this weekend as the RedHawks host Northwestern Friday before traveling to Wisconsin to face Milwaukee Sunday. Kickoff with the Wildcats is set for 5 p.m. while Sunday's match starts at 1:30 p.m.
Miami (2-0) opened its campaign with two convincing wins, topping local rival Xavier, 3-0, last Friday in the season opener before downing IUPUI in its first road match, 5-0, on Sunday. The RedHawks have now gotten off to a 2-0 start each of the last three seasons and also began the 2011 season with victories by a combined 8-0 margin.
Sophomore Kelsey Dinges (Smithton, Ill.) led Miami against the Musketeers with a career-high two goals while senior captain Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) added a goal and an assist as the 'Hawks avenged their loss to Xavier in 2011. On Sunday, freshman Lauren Mathews (Hamilton, Ohio) put Miami on the board first in the 33rd minute and the RedHawks scored three goals in the first 15 minutes of the second half to blow the game open. Kodiak added two goals and an assist against the Jaguars (all in the second half) while juniors Katy Dolesh (Chardon, Ohio) and Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.) had a goal and an assist each.
With her three-goal, two-assist showing on opening weekend, Kodiak was named Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week, the third time she's won the award in her career. Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) was in net the entire match vs. Xavier to pick up her fifth career shutout and played the first 60 minutes at IUPUI, making two stops, before giving way to junior Madison Ryan (Marietta, Ga.), as the two combined for the clean sheet. Three freshmen earned starts last weekend in midfielders Jess Bronke (Downers Grove, Ill.) and Haley Walter (Cincinnati, Ohio) and defender Lauren Kelly (Manhattan, Ill.) while a total of eight newcomers saw their first action as RedHawks.
Northwestern (1-0) becomes the first Big Ten foe to invade Oxford since Michigan edged the RedHawks, 1-0, back in 2008, which was also the last time Miami faced a Big Ten school. The Wildcats opened their season last Friday with a 2-1 overtime victory at Kansas, despite being outshot 20-11 in the match. Sophomore Georgia Waddle scored the game-winner in the fifth minute of overtime while junior Kate Allen had the Wildcats first goal just 4:54 into the game. Sophomore keeper Anna Cassell made five saves to earn the win in net. Northwestern tied DePaul, 1-1, on Aug. 11 in its lone exhibition match. The Wildcats went just 2-16-1 last year and finished last in the Big Ten but return 20 letterwinners and eight starters from that team.
Milwaukee (1-0-1), who plays crosstown rival Marquette Friday before hosting the RedHawks, is also off to a strong start to the 2012 season. The Panthers played to a scoreless, double-overtime draw against No. 24 South Carolina in their season opener last Friday. Milwaukee picked up its first win on Sunday, downing St. Bonaventure, 4-0, getting goals from four different players. Sophomore Kelly Lewers had assists on each of the first two goals while classmate Amy Kauffung had a goal and an assist each. Senior keeper Jamie Forbes pitched the shutout in both games and has 11 saves on the year. Milwaukee received six points in the first NSCAA Division I Poll after returning 15 letterwinners and six starters from a 2011 team that won the Horizon League last year and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
Miami has never faced Northwestern or Milwaukee on the pitch previously marking the first meetings with both teams this weekend. The RedHawks are 2-9-1 all-time against Big Ten teams with the lone wins coming in the 2002 NCAA Tournament over Michigan State and an upset of No. 17 Michigan in 2005.
Miami's game against Northwestern will be streamed live on MURedHawks.com through the Miami All-Access subscription package as will several of Miami Soccer's home matches in 2012. In all, over 100 home Miami sporting events will be broadcast through Miami All-Access during the 2012-13 season. To purchase Miami All-Access, click here. Live stats will be available for both matches this weekend on MURedHawks.com as well, while the Milwaukee match will be streamed live for free here.
Be sure to wear red to Friday's game against the Wildcats to show your support for Miami as part of "All-In Fridays". "All-In Fridays" is an endeavor to build unity amongst Miami campus faculty, staff and students, the Oxford community and Miami alumni. Fans can also tweet pictures of themselves wearing red to @MiamiRedHawks with the hashtag #AllinFridays or post pictures on Swoop's Facebook page. For more information on "All-In Fridays," click here.
Following this weekend's matches, the RedHawks are off until traveling to Belmont on Sunday, Sept. 2.