OXFORD, Ohio – Looking to shake off four-straight one-goal losses to close out the non-conference schedule, Miami women’s soccer turns its attention toward defending its 2012 Mid-American Conference regular-season and tournament championships with a road trip to Akron and Buffalo on Friday, Sept. 27 and Saturday, Sept. 29, respectively.
The RedHawks won three of their first four games to open the season but have fallen to 3-5-0 after dropping hard-fought matches by just one goal apiece to Louisville, Milwaukee, Purdue and Marshall over the last three weeks with the losses to Louisville and Purdue both coming in overtime.
Miami looks to right the ship after as the team turns to MAC play after suffering a 1-0 loss to Marshall last weekend, the team’s first shutout loss in over a year. Last season the RedHawks were unbeaten in league play, finishing with a 10-0-1 record, and this season returned 10 starters from the team that advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament last November.
This year the Red and White, picked by the coaches in the preseason repeat as league champions, has maintained a high-powered offense, averaging a MAC-best 2.38 goals per game. Miami is led by seniors Katy Dolesh and Kayla Zakrzewski with 11 points apiece. Dolesh leads the team with five goals while Zakrzewski has tallied a team-high five assists. Junior Kelsey Dinges is third on the team in points with 10 on three goals and four assists. Senior goalkeeper Allison Norenberg has started seven of the RedHawks’ eight games, allowing 2.09 goals per game with two shutouts.
Miami’s first opponent of the weekend, Akron, is 3-3-2 on the season and will be playing its first league game as well. The Zips lost 2-1 to Cleveland State their last time out on Sunday. They average 1.62 goals per game, tied for third in the MAC, and have surrendered 1.75 goals per game, good for eighth in the conference, to their opponents. Freshman forward Sarah Sivic leads the team in all offensive categories with four goals and four assists for 12 points. Sophomore keeper Klaire Adee has started all eight games for Akron and has allowed 1.67 goals per game with a .683 save percentage. The RedHawks are 8-4-2 all-time against the Zips and have won the last two meetings, including a 4-1 win last year.
Sunday’s opponent, Buffalo, is 3-2-2 this year and also suffered a defeat in its last match, a 2-1 decision to Niagara. The Bulls are a defensive-minded team, averaging 0.71 goals per game on offense (10th in the MAC) and allowing 0.65 goals per game defensively (second in the league). The team has tallied five goals this season, all by different scorers. Goalkeeper Ainsley Wheldon has started all of the team’s games, making 28 saves for a 0.65 goals against average and a .848 save percentage with four shutouts. Miami has a dominant 13-2-2 historical record and a 2-1-1 advantage in the last four years against the Bulls. The RedHawks took a 2-0 victory a season ago. Buffalo will host Ball State on Friday in its first conference game of the season.
Friday’s game starts at 7 pm while the Sunday match begins at noon. Live stats for the matchup with the Zips are available here with live streaming here. Stats and a live stream for the Miami vs. Buffalo game are here.