AKRON, Ohio – Miami women’s soccer is still looking to end a losing streak that has now reached five games after falling to Akron, 2-1, in the team’s first Mid-American Conference match of the season. The RedHawks (3-6-0, 0-1-0 MAC) couldn’t break through the strong Zips’ (4-3-2, 1-0-0 MAC) defense to overcome a two-goal deficit as the come-back attempt fell short.
From the start the two teams were locked in a defensive battle with neither side able to send in a shot over the first 11 minutes of the game. Miami recorded the first shot of the match, but were unable to test Akron goalkeeper Alex Luevano-Harden, in her first start of the season, until just after the 16 minute mark when sophomore midfielder Jess Bronke’s header was stopped by Luevano-Harden.
Throughout the first half, the RedHawks fired eight shots on goal, but just three found their way on goal, all stopped by the Zips’ keeper. On the Miami defensive end, the Red and White limited Akron’s opportunities, only allowing one shot in the first half. That lone shot, a hard drive from the top of the box by Zip forward Lani Smith, found its mark in the 44th minute of the match to beat junior goalkeeper Allison Norenberg and put Akron ahead 1-0.
In the second half, Miami went on the attack, earning a corner just two minutes in followed by a pair of shots that were well defended and never found their way on goal. In the 58th minute, Smith again found the back of the net for the Zips. She took a pass from midfielder Madison Kaser at the top of the box and sent in a shot past Norenberg for the 2-0 lead on her team-leading fifth goal of the season.
The RedHawks responded less than two minutes later when junior forward Hailey Pleshakov headed in a shot after a lob from senior midfielder Kayla Zakrzewski to cut the Akron lead to 2-1. Pleshakov’s goal, however, would prove to be the last of the scoring as Miami managed just two more shots over the final 20 minutes, neither of which found its way on goal.
Miami earned three corner kicks to Akron’s one while outshooting the home team by a 13-5 margin, but the Zips made the most of their opportunities to take the win. Norenberg made two saves in the effort, falling to 2-6-0 and Luevano-Harden three shots to move to 1-0-0.
The RedHawks, who lost their first MAC match since the 2011 season, look to end their losing streak on Sunday as they travel to Buffalo, who fell on Friday 1-0 to Ball State, for a noon kickoff. Live stats are available here with live streaming video here.