RedHawks down UT Martin Skyhawks, 2-1, in RedHawk Shootout Tournament
OXFORD, Ohio – Senior Courtney Clarke scored with less than four minutes to play to break a 1-1 deadlock and give the Miami University women’s soccer team a 2-1 victory over Tennessee-Martin Friday at Miami Soccer Field in its own RedHawk Shootout Tournament. Miami (3-2-0) snaps a two-game skid with the win over the Skyhawks (5-2-0), which was the first ever meeting between the teams, while remaining undefeated at home.
The RedHawks were slow out of the gate, as UT Martin capitalized early on a defensive miscue. Just 15 minutes into the contest, the Skyhawks got on the board when junior Kendyl Wilson notched her first goal of the year. A long punt from UTM goalkeeper Lauren Mackenzie slipped through the Miami defense, allowing Wilson to run onto the ball and chip Miami redshirt freshman goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) to put UT Martin up 1-0.
“We were a little bit foggy the first 15 minutes. We picked it up though and fixed a couple of things,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “One of the things I liked about this game is we had periods where we played really well and we had periods where we didn’t play very well, but we seemed like we were able to fix those things. I think that’s a sign we’re starting to grow and mature a little bit.”
Sophomore Katy Dolesh (South Euclid, Ohio) nearly drew the ‘Hawks level in the 24th minute when she received a pass in front of the net just eight yards out and the Skyhawks thought she was offside, but Mackenzie made a point-blank save to keep her team ahead. With a minute remaining in the first half, it looked as though Miami did draw level when senior Sarah Dessfelt (Vellinge, Sweden) redirected a shot from Clarke (Scarborough, Ont.) into the net but Dessfelt was offside.
The RedHawks finally pulled even in the closing seconds of the opening period when sophomore Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.) tallied her third goal of the year. Freshman Hailey Pleshakov (Brighton, Mich.) ripped a low line drive from the right side of the penalty box with 10 ticks to go that Mackenzie made a diving stop on, but Zakrzewski was there to clean up the rebound with six seconds left on the clock. It was Pleshakov’s second helper of the year.
“We had a free kick with about 40 seconds left and we work on those a lot in practice so we’re on top of our free kicks. We did what we’re supposed to do and when you follow what you’re taught in practice, that’s what happens, you get a goal out of it,” Pleshakov said. “Our team is such hard workers, we work until the last second and that’s why we got that goal because we played until the last second.”
The two sides headed into halftime knotted a 1-1 despite Miami holding an 11-4 edge in shots and a 3-1 edge in corner kicks. Mackenzie made eight of her 10 saves over the first 45 minutes to keep her team ahead before conceding the equalizer in the final seconds.
In the 67th minute, Pleshakov nearly put the RedHawks ahead as she gathered a through ball and beat her defender for a breakaway, but the Skyhawk defender recovered enough to give her a bump and force her shot to go inches right of the goalpost.
Miami would not be denied however, as Clarke would find the back of the net early in the 87th minute off a corner kick for her first goal of 2011. Junior Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) swung the corner kick into the box where the ball bounced around and several ‘Hawks took a hack at it until Clarke finally cleaned up the loose ball and buried it to give the RedHawks a 2-1 lead they would not relinquish.
“I’m really pleased with how we finished each half. We had every reason to let this game get away. We gave up a silly goal early on and got down, but we worked hard and self-corrected and got a very good goal back,” Kramig said. “The game-winner was one that took three chances but it finally went in. We showed some mental toughness today.”
The Skyhawks outshot Miami in the second half but the RedHawks finished with an 18-13 edge for the match, led by five shots, including three on goal, from Dolesh. Junior Midori Sera paced UT Martin with six shots. Miami also held a 6-3 edge in corner kicks for the match. Norenberg tallied three saves to pick up her third win of the year.
With the victory, the RedHawks earn three points in the tournament standings while in the day’s first game, East Tennessee State topped Wright State, 2-1, to also garner three points. As part of the tournament, a five-person penalty kick shootout occurs following each match regardless of the score, with the winner of the shootout earning an extra point in the standings. UTM won that point, taking the shootout over Miami, 4-2, while WSU won its shootout with ETSU, 3-2, to also earn a point.
The tournament concludes Sunday with Miami playing East Tennessee State at 3 p.m. while UT Martin and Wright State do battle to start the day at noon. A RedHawk victory would assure them of capturing the tournament title. Sunday will also be Miami’s Senior Day, as its five seniors will be recognized prior to the match.