OXFORD, Ohio – No. 2 seed Miami travels to the campus of Eastern Michigan this weekend to attempt to defend the Mid-American Conference women’s soccer tournament championship and earn a repeat trip to the NCAA tournament. The RedHawks (11-6-3; 7-1-3 MAC) put their 11-game unbeaten streak up against No. 6 seed Ball State (11-6-3; 5-4-2 MAC) in the league semifinals on Friday at 2 p.m. at Scicluna Field. The other semifinal match will feature the regular season champion and host Eagles and fourth-seeded Western Michigan at 11 a.m. on Friday.
This will be the second time in just over a week that the RedHawks and Cardinals have gone head-to-head after Miami took a 3-2 win in Muncie on a rainy Halloween afternoon. In that match sophomore midfielder Jess Bronke, senior captain Katy Dolesh and sophomore forward Katee Wensinger scored to lead the RedHawks. Ball State leading scorers Elaina Musleh and Victoria Jacobs each tallied a goal in their team’s loss. Musleh has 11 points on four goals and three assists to lead the way after scoring a goal in each of the Cardinals’ last two games while Jacobs, the leading goal-scorer with five, is tied for second in scoring with Michelle Blok with 10 points.
Friday’s match will mark Miami’s 10th appearance in the MAC semifinals where the team has a 6-3-0 record. The RedHawks are seeking their second-consecutive conference tournament championship and fifth overall, having won it in 200-03 and again in 2012. It will be the Cardinals’ third appearance in the league semifinals with their last appearance in 2007. They are attempting to advance past the semifinals for the first time in school history.
Miami earned its spot in the match with a 3-0 win over Northern Illinois last Sunday at the Miami Soccer Field. The shutout was the team’s school-record 11th of the year, surpassing the mark of 10 set in 2002 and matched in 2012. Senior Allison Norenberg has been in goal for 10 of those games, adding to her individual season record in the game against the Huskies. She also extended her Miami career-shutouts record in that game with her 22nd in her time with the Red and White.
Sophomore midfielder Haley Walter, junior forward Kelsey Dinges, and freshman midfielder Rachel Marble scored the goals for the RedHawks. Dinges leads the team in points with 20 and is tied with Dolesh for most goals on the team with seven. Senior midfielder Kayla Zakrzewski is second on the team in points with 17 while Dolesh is third with 16.
The Cardinals played their way to the semifinals by rallying from behind to defeat third-seeded Central Michigan, 2-1, last Sunday on the Chippewas home field. Musleh and Gabby Veldman scored a goal apiece in the second half to lead the team.
The winner of the match will advance to play on Sunday, Nov. 10 against the winner of the Eastern and Western Michigan game. Those two teams played on the final day of the regular season with the Eagles taking the 2-1 win to claim the regular season championship. A win by the Broncos would have secured the top spot for them while a tie would have propelled Miami to the championship.
Tickets to the semifinal games are $10 for adults and $7 for youth and include entrance to both games on Friday. Students that present MAC institution IDs are permitted free of charge. Live statistics for both games are available here.