By Dani Fraelick
INDIANAPOLIS - The Miami women’s soccer team fell, 2-0, to Butler Saturday in an exhibition game, its first of four this spring.
After practicing outside only four days, the team’s play impressed assistant coach Matt Ward, although the result didn’t show.
“I thought we showed some good things in spurts,” he said. “For our first game since November, I was relatively pleased with our effort.”
It’s been four months since the team’s last game, a loss to Duke in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. The loss came after an outstanding fall season, including a MAC regular-season title, a MAC Tournament Championship, and a first round NCAA Tournament win against Tennessee.
Butler controlled the first half of play, with a few chances high and wide of the target and another few grabbed up by sophomore goalkeeper Danielle Wiseman. Butler continued to press hard the remainder of the half, and it paid off with a goal in the 44th minute. Sophia Maccagnone dribbled past a Miami defender and shot it above Wiseman’s reach.
Miami came out of halftime with more energy, according to freshman Haley Walter, the MAC Freshman of the Year.
“We were more offensive and more aggressive in the second half,” she said. “It was our first game in a while and it took some time to get back into the groove.”
Butler’s attack was not as strong, but they took advantage of an opportunity towards the end of the match. Butler broke through Miami’s back line and placed a shot past Wiseman to make the score 2-0.
Despite the offensive effort, Miami couldn’t find the back of the net. Miami’s best chance of the game came in the 15th minute, when junior Kayla Zakrzewski sent a cross in the box to Walter, whose shot went wide.
Besides those with injuries, all of the RedHawks saw playing time, something that does not happen often in the fall. Sophomore midfielder Kelsey Dinges thought the team adjusted well to the differences from the typical fall line-up.
“We communicated very well, even though were not used to playing with each other,” she said.
Ward believes the game was a good chance to get back out on the field and focus on improving technical aspects of the game.
“I think we have a foundation to build on off of this, and I’m looking on getting back to training.”
Miami will have plenty of practice time following the cancellation of a game scheduled for Thursday against Kentucky. The RedHawks will not play again until Saturday, April 6 against Big Ten foe Indiana. The home game is set for 11 a.m. at Miami Soccer Field.