RedHawks win 3-0 as Kodiak scores twice
OXFORD, Ohio--Junior Jess Kodiak scored twice to lead the Miami women's soccer team to a 3-0 win over Northern Illinois Friday afternoon at the Miami Soccer Field. The RedHawks' record moves to 9-7-0 overall and 4-5-0 in the Mid-American Conference with their third-straight win while the Huskies fall to 2-13-2 overall and 1-8-0 in the MAC.
"I think it says a lot about the character of this team, that they're able to withstand a tough spell," head coach Bobby Kramig said. "We lost five in a row, and I know an awful lot of teams that would just fold up the tent and go home after that. But these kids have shown great character, we've had great leadership and I'm really proud of them. We're playing the best soccer of the year at the best time of the year."
Miami jumped out to the early 1-0 lead when Kodiak fired her first shot of the game into the top left corner at the start of the sixth minute for her team-leading eighth goal of the season. Kodiak, with her back to the goal and a defender directly behind her at top of the six-yard box, took a pass from senior Giselle Mangal, turned around her defender and sent a shot past Northern Illinois goalkeeper Amy Carr.
"I saw [Mangal] and cut in and called for it," Kodiak said. "She gave me a really good ball and when I turned, it just fell to my left foot perfectly. It was a nice opportunity, so I took it."
Throughout the rest of the first half, the RedHawks created scoring chances, forcing Carr to make four saves before halftime. On the defensive end, the Red and White limited the Huskies to six shots, with only three on goal that Miami keeper Allison Norenberg was able to stop to keep Miami in front 1-0 at the half.
The RedHawks picked up the pace in the second half when Kodiak again found the back of the net for the ninth time this season, this time in the 51st minute. She took a pass from freshman Hailey Pleshakovand sent a high, arcing shot from the left side over Carr and into the right side of the goal for a 2-0 Miami lead and her second multi-goal game of the year (and her career).
"Jess is really starting to find her rhythm," Kramig said. "She's been playing well all year, the goals just weren't coming for her. You can see that changing now as her confidence is building. She's such a composed player."
Sophomore Katy Dolesh added to the lead less than two minutes later when she took over at the top of the 18-yard box and dribbled around the defense to the left side where she sent a left-footed shot into the right side of the net to conclude the scoring and give Miami the 3-0 lead. It was the third straight game Dolesh tallied a goal.
The RedHawk defense stifled the Huskies in the second half, holding them two just two shots and only one on goal, which Norenberg stopped to preserve her fourth shutout of the season and second straight.
"Two shutouts in a row, I'm very proud of Allison," Kramig said of his keeper. "I thought she did well. I'm very pleased with Allison and really our entire back four who've really come together these last three games."
With the win, Miami kept pace in the crowded MAC East standings with just two games left in the season.
"We told our kids before this game that today was the most important game of the year and now Sunday becomes the most important game of the year," Kramig said. "When you get down to the last couple games in this conference, everything gets very tight. You just have to keep your composure, stay on task and play one game at a time."
The RedHawks return to action Sunday, Oct. 23 at 1 p.m. at the Miami Soccer Field as they take on Western Michigan.