OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami soccer team’s slate of challenging non-conference match-ups concludes this weekend as the RedHawks host Marshall and Illinois State on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Friday’s contest against the Thundering Herd begins at 4 p.m., while Sunday’s contest against the Redbirds begins at 1 p.m. The match on Sunday will also be Miami’s Senior Day, where it will honor seniors Kelsey Dinges, Olivia Evans, Hailey Pleshakov, Danielle Wiseman and Courtney Zanotti prior to kickoff.
The RedHawks (4-1) have won their past two matches, including last Sunday’s 3-0 home opening win over IPFW. After scoring just three times in its first three contests, MU has found the net five times in its past two outings. During those two wins against Louisville and IPFW, the RedHawks have outshot opponents 34-8, including a decided 28-3 edge against the Mastodons on Sunday.
Miami’s depth has been the catalyst of its stellar run through the non-conference slate. Twenty different players have stepped onto the pitch in at least four of the RedHawks’ five contests, with 21 seeing the field on three occasions. Kelsey Dinges’ five points (2 goals, 1 assist) lead the Red and White, though five players have scored at least one goal and nine have at least one point. Danielle Wiseman has started all five contests and boasts a 0.89 goals against average with a .750 save percentage and two solo shutouts. Vic Maniaci made her season debut in the second half of Sunday’s win over IPFW and did not allow a goal in her 45 minutes in net.
Marshall is off to a 3-2-2 start to the season and averages 1.86 goals per match while sporting a 1.48 goals against average. The Thundering Herd are 2-0-1 in their last three contests and are led by Kristine Culicerto’s nine points (4 goals, 1 assist), one of six Marshall players with four or more points this season. Lizzie Kish has played every second in goal and owns a 1.48 goals against average, a .667 save percentage and one solo shutout.
Illinois State enters play this weekend with a 5-3 record, posting a 2-0 mark against Mid-American Conference teams Northern Illinois (4-1) and Central Michigan (5-1). ISU has won its last two contests, with the most recent outing a 2-1 overtime triumph over Baylor. Rachel Tejada paces the Redbirds with 15 points (5 goals, 5 assists) and is the NCAA’s active career goal scoring leader. Tejada is one of six ISU players with two or more goals. The Redbirds average 2.62 goals per match and hold a 1.74 goals against average thus far this season. In net, Aryn Newsom has played all but 22 minutes and maintains a 1.67 goals against average with a .667 save percentage and two solo shutouts.
Live stats will be available for both contests courtesy of MURedHawks.com.
All-Time Series: Miami holds a 5-3 advantage in the all-time series against former MAC foe Marshall, though the Thundering Herd prevailed 1-0 in Huntington, West Virginia last season. The RedHawks also dropped a 3-2 decision against the Redbirds to open the 2013 campaign, which was the first-ever meeting between the programs.
More ‘Power’ to You: In one month, Miami has already proven its mettle against some of the top conferences in the country. MU opened the year in Big Ten country with a 1-0 win at Purdue, notching its third ever victory over a Big Ten opponent. The Red and White also posted a 2-1 win at Louisville on Sept. 7, their first victory over a current member of the ACC.
Shooting Around: After putting up only 29 shots in its first four contests combined, Miami erupted to outshoot IPFW 28-3 in a 3-0 win on Sept. 14. Prior to that, the RedHawks had not attempted more than eight shots in their previous three matches.
Shutting it Down: Miami put together one of its better defensive efforts of the year at Louisville on Sept. 7. The RedHawks held the Cardinals to only five shot attempts, only two of which were on goal, in a 2-1 win. That marked the fewest shots allowed by Miami this season.
Solid Starts: Even with just a five-match sample, Miami’s 4-1 start historically has meant big things going forward for the season, as evidenced by the previous times the RedHawks had one loss or were unbeaten through five contests.
Year Through 5 Final
1999 5-0 17-3-1; MAC Tournament finalist
2002 3-1-1 19-3-2; MAC Champions, NCAA Second Round
2012 4-1 20-3-1; MAC Champions, NCAA Second Round