RADFORD, Va. – A goal in the final two minutes spoiled the Miami (OH) University women’s soccer team’s 2012 exhibition opener Tuesday, as Radford scored late to snag a 2-1 victory over the RedHawks at Cupp Stadium. The contest was Miami’s only exhibition match this year.
“It was a good, even game. We gave up a goal in the closing minutes, which was disappointing, but overall I thought we played pretty well for a first time out,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “Radford is a good team and has made the NCAA Tournament the past couple of years.”
Miami applied pressure early, hitting both the post and crossbar in the opening minutes of the contest, but was unable to find the net. The Highlanders then struck first, as Sahar Aflaki stole the ball in Miami’s defensive end and beat redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Allison Norenberg (Palatine, Ill.) on a breakaway for an unassisted tally in the 20th minute.
The RedHawks responded to the deficit and found the equalizer in the closing stages of the opening period. Senior captain Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.) buried a loose ball just outside the six-yard box off the bottom of the crossbar, leveling the match at 1-1 in the 42nd minute.
Despite the game being tied, Miami controlled much of the first half, outshooting Radford, 12-4, while earning all three corners in the stanza. Highlander keeper Che’ Brown made all three of her saves in the first 45 minutes.
The sides traded possession for much of the second half, but were unable to produce much offense, combining for only seven shots and four shots on goal. With just 1:28 remaining in the match, Krissia Vasquez gathered a loose ball and lofted a shot over freshman netminder Ashley Hull (Canonsburg, Pa.) from 35 yards out to break the deadlock and give Radford the 2-1 win.
“We challenged our team before the game to put the things we’ve been working on in practice and apply them to the game. I think for the most part they did that,” Kramig said. “I believe we have the nucleus for a very good team this year.”
The ‘Hawks finished with a 15-8 edge in shots and a 6-2 advantage in corner kicks while both teams put five shots on target. Junior Katy Dolesh (Chardon, Ohio), sophomore Kelsey Dinges (Smithton, Ill.) and freshman Lauren Mathews (Hamilton, Ohio) each took three shots, placing one on frame.
All four RedHawk goalkeepers saw action as Norenberg played the first 21 minutes and made one save before giving way to junior Madison Ryan (Marietta, Ga.), who also made a save in 21 minutes of action. Sophomore Danielle Wiseman (Canton, Ohio) was in net for the first 20-plus minutes of the second stanza while Hull made one save closing out the match.
A total of 21 RedHawks saw playing time, including 10 newcomers, while everyone played at least 16 minutes with most playing 25 or more.
“One of our goals going into this game was to get every player at least 30 minutes,” Kramig said. “We have better depth on this team than we’ve had in a while. The competition in practice has been good and I am pleased with this team’s work ethic and training habits. Every one of them deserved to play and I was pleased we were able to get everyone some time tonight.”
Miami opens the regular season Friday, Aug. 17 at home against local rival Xavier. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. at Miami Soccer Field.