Miami Soccer Continues Strong Spring Performances Against Big Ten Laura Freel Laura Freel

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April 10, 2003

After playing tough against Illinois, Arkansas and UAB last month, the Miami soccer team gave Purdue and Northwestern all they could handle in West Lafayette, Ind. last weekend. Despite the very cold and blustery conditions, the RedHawks fell 1-0 to Purdue and 2-1 to Northwestern during the spring season.

The first game featured Miami and Purdue, who played to a 1-1 tie on Oct. 31 during the 2002 regular season. The familiar opponents remained scoreless through the first half during the spring season match. Twelve minutes into the second half, Purdue scored on a breakdown by Miami, allowing the Boilermakers to take a 1-0 advantage. During the scoring play, a Miami defender blocked the first shot but the RedHawks failed on three occasions to clear the rebound, which allowed Purdue to score the game-winner. Although Miami fell, it created several strong scoring opportunities throughout the game but were unable to capitalize on its chances.

"Overall I was very pleased with our effort and the quality of our game," said head coach Bobby Kramig. "We've been working on defending all spring and I was very pleased with our organization, poise and commitment. We played with better discipline and really we're unlucky not to win the game."

In the second game versus Northwestern, Miami struggled against both the wind and the Wildcats's pressure as Northwestern controlled most of the play and scored right before the half. Northwestern added another early in the second half to take a 2-0 advantage as Miami continued to rotate their line-up to give the younger players much needed experience. With the wind at the RedHawks backs, Miami regained momentum and balanced out the game with a goal in the second half. Miami cut the deficit to 2-1, when freshman Carrie DeLange (Naperville, Ill./North) scored off a 20-yard left-footed drive to the upper 90 of the goal.

"Northwestern is a difficult team to play against," said Kramig. "They are big, strong and physical and often seemed more intent on destroying the game rather than playing it. Regardless, we have to give them credit for preventing us from getting into any sort of rhythm and making it very difficult throughout the entire game."

"As a whole I'd say that I was very pleased with the weekend," said Kramig. "For our younger kids, the opportunity to play against two Big Ten teams was a great experience and one from which I think we will take great benefit. As a coach, it is always gratifying to see the things you've worked on in practice show up in the game, and we definitely saw that."

The RedHawks will close their spring season at home as they challenge the U17 and U16 Ohio Elite teams on Saturday, April 12 at 2 p.m. and 4 p.m., respectively. Finally, Miami takes on rival Cincinnati on Wednesday, April 16 in Oxford at 6:30 p.m. in the spring finale.