WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – For the second-straight contest, the Miami University soccer team’s bench proved the difference in a 1-0 win over Butler on Sunday.
Freshman Kat Zalar scored her first-collegiate goal with 13:28 left in regulation to clinch the RedHawks (2-0) perfect opening weekend and subsequent tournament title at the Boilermaker Challenge Cup.
Butler controlled play for large stretches of the first half. The Bulldogs outshot the RedHawks 7-1 and had a 3-1 edge in corner kicks over the first 45 minutes of play, though only one BU shot made its way on goal, which was stopped by Danielle Wiseman. That left the contest still scoreless at halftime.
“Credit to Butler, they are a disciplined and well-organized team,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “They made things difficult for us. We weren’t really sure how to handle the situation and it was a good learning experience for our kids in terms of playing against teams that are set up like them. At halftime, we encouraged the team to play a little more aggressively. Once we did that, they loosened up a bit and we had some more success.”
The Red and White picked it up as the second half wore on and created more opportunities in the final regulation frame. After getting outshot by a 12-2 clip over the first 61:15, Miami attempted three-straight shots and had a pair of corner kick attempts over the next six minutes, but none found the net.
That all changed in the 77th minute when Zalar picked off goalkeeper Madison Card’s short play and fired into the net to give the Red and White a 1-0 lead with just over 13 minutes left to play. From there, the Red and White defense really locked things down and only allowed one more shot attempt the rest of the way to secure the tournament title.
“Kat took advantage of a misplay and did a great job on her first touch to gather the ball and finish,” Kramig said. “I felt we made some good adjustments defensively at halftime. We quit chasing the ball as much as we were in the first half.”
In her second-straight start in goal, Wiseman stopped three shots to post her second consecutive shutout. She stopped all nine shots she faced in 180 minutes of time in goal over the weekend. Wiseman was named the tournament’s Defensive MVP and was one of five RedHawks to earn a spot on the all-tournament team, joining Kelsey Dinges (Offensive MVP), Jess Bronke, Rachel Marble and Courtney Zanotti.
The Bulldogs ended up outshooting the RedHawks 15-8 and owned a 6-3 advantage in corner kicks. Play was much closer at both ends in the second half, however, as Butler held just an 8-7 edge in shots over the final 45 minutes of play.
Miami returns to the pitch on Aug. 31 when it travels to Northwestern.