RedHawks Bounce Back Against Falcons, 2-0

OXFORD, Ohio – Maggie Scott and Haley Walter both scored in the first half and the Miami soccer team outshot Bowling Green 25-2 in a 2-0 win on Sunday. The victory moves the RedHawks to 7-2 overall and 1-1 in Mid-American Conference play.

The Red and White got their offense on track quickly as Maggie Scott headed home Kelsey Dinges’ corner kick in the 15th minute of play to put them up 1-0. Miami struck again in the 24th minute when Haley Walter took Rachel Marble’s feed just past midfield, drove wide to the right side of the attacking box and launched a beautiful shot that caught the upper 90 in the far side to make it a 2-0 contest. That goal capped the scoring in a dominant first half by the RedHawks, one where they outshot the Falcons 13-1 and had a 6-0 advantage in corner kicks.

Miami wasn’t quite as sharp in its execution, but still dominated possession in the second half. The RedHawks outshot the Falcons by a 12-1 margin and saw their bench create a number of quality opportunities. One player who was particularly active was Chloe Knue, who had three good opportunities in the final minutes. She drove down the right wing and blasted a shot labeled for the upper 90 that Lauren Cadel turned away in the 85th minute, got another look down the left side and was stopped by Cadel again in the 87th minute and had the ball in the same spot for a shot that the defense blocked seconds later.

Bowling Green’s lone shot of the second half was dangerous, as the ball got worked to Kylie Briem with an open net in the closing seconds. However, her attempt sailed over the net as time expired, preserving Miami’s shutout.

Vic Maniaci made her second-straight start in net and picked up her first shutout of the season for the Red and White. Her counterpart, Cadel, stopped nine of the 11 shots she faced.

In addition to the 25-2 shot advantage, Miami also took seven corner kicks while not allowing Bowling Green to take a single corner kick. Dinges fired eight of the Red and White’s 25 shots.

Miami is back in action on Friday when it hosts Toledo at 4 p.m.

RedHawks Begin MAC Play this Weekend

OXFORD, Ohio – With another unbeaten non-conference weekend in the rear view mirror, the Miami University soccer team begins its trek through the Mid-American Conference this weekend.

The RedHawks (6-1) open up league play against defending regular season MAC champion Eastern Michigan on Friday (4 p.m.) before closing out the weekend against Bowling Green on Sunday at 1 p.m.

Miami enters MAC play on a four-match winning streak after posting one-goal victories over Marshall (2-1) and Illinois State (3-2) at home last weekend. The Red and White’s 6-1 start is their best since beginning the 1999 season 7-0. Kelsey Dinges has scored all of her team-high five goals during the win streak, netting the game-winning goal in all four victories. She earned MAC Offensive Player of the Week honors and was placed on Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week for her performance last weekend.

The RedHawks have enjoyed tremendous success in the MAC over the past two seasons, posting a collective 17-1-4 record in that span. Including the MAC Tournament, the Red and White have amassed a 21-1-5 mark against MAC teams in the last two years. During that stretch, the RedHawks have won the last two MAC East Division titles, including overall MAC regular season and tournament crowns in 2012.

Eastern Michigan finished with one more point than Miami in the 2013 MAC standings to claim the regular season conference title. The Eagles are off to a 4-2-1 start, which includes a 2-2-1 mark against teams from power conferences. During non-conference play, EMU notched road victories at Indiana and Oregon State while tying Oregon. Eastern Michigan is 2-0-1 in its last three contests and averages 1.57 goals per match while holding a 1.10 goals against average. Megan McCabe has started six of the Eagles’ seven contests in net and maintains a 0.80 goals against average, .833 save percentage and three solo shutouts. On the field, Angela Vultaggio has scored four of EMU’s 11 goals.

Bowling Green enters MAC play with a 1-6 record and is hoping to improve on an 0-9-2 conference run a year ago. BGSU’s 1-1 tie against MU at the tail end of last season ended up playing a big role in the Red and White finishing one point behind EMU for second in the overall league standings. The Falcons have scored 10 goals in their seven contests, although eight came in their 8-0 win over Chicago State. BGSU is led offensively by Sidney Huth’s six points (2 goals, 2 assists). The Falcons hold a 2.29 goals against average, with Lauren Cadel (2.46 goals against average, .738 save percentage and a shutout) starting all seven contests and playing all but 43:07 in net.

Live stats will be available for both contests on MURedHawks.com.

Free Kicks:

All-Time Series: Miami is 10-9-2 all-time against Eastern Michigan and has won its last two meetings against EMU. The RedHawks are 3-0-2 in their last five meetings against the Falcons and lead the all-time series at 11-7-2.

The Computer Says: While there is plenty of season left to be played, the first Ratings Percentage Index (RPI) rankings came in this week and look favorably on the RedHawks. The Red and White check in at No. 21 in the RPI thanks to a 3-1 record against teams that are currently ranked in the top 100. Thus far, Miami has topped Purdue (No. 46), Illinois State (No. 58) and Louisville (No. 69), with its lone blemish coming against Northwestern (No. 88). Typically, teams in the top-40 of the RPI stand a good chance of earning an at-large selection to the NCAA Tournament.

Kelsey’s Kicking: Senior Kelsey Dinges’ strong leg has been on full display over the last few weeks. After being held to just a lone assist in the season’s first three contests, Dinges has scored five goals in the last four matches, netting the game-winning goal in each outing.

Offense is Alive: It took awhile for things to get on track, but the Miami offense is humming along during its four-match winning streak. After netting three goals in their first three matches, the RedHawks have struck for 10 goals in the last four, scoring two or more goals in each outing.

Winning the Close Ones: The Red and White have been calm in nail biters this season. Five of the RedHawks’ six victories have been one-goal decisions as they are a perfect 5-0 in one-goal contests.

Tough to Beat: After dropping to 3-5 following a four-match losing skid during the 2013 season, Miami essentially decided (almost) never to lose again. The RedHawks went unbeaten in their final 12 matches last fall and are off to a 6-1 start in 2014. Add it all up and MU is 14-1-4 in its last 19 matches.

Dinges Lands on National Team of the Week

OXFORD, Ohio – Senior Kelsey Dinges is on a special kind of roll and the rest of the country has taken notice.

The Miami University soccer team’s midfielder was one of 11 players to land on Top Drawer Soccer’s National Team of the Week this week, which recognizes the top performers from around the nation every week. She was also named Mid-American Conference Offensive Player of the Week on Monday.

Dinges scored three of the RedHawks’ five goals in a pair of tight wins over the weekend. The senior tallied both of the Red and White’s goals in the first half of a 2-1 win over Marshall last Friday. She was dominant in the performance, launching six shots (five on goal). On Sunday, Dinges’ goal in the 62nd minute snapped a 2-2 tie in an eventual 3-2 win over three-time defending Missouri Valley Conference champion Illinois State. The RedHawks have won their last four matches, with Dinges scoring five goals and netting the game winner in each triumph.

Dinges and the RedHawks open up MAC play against Eastern Michigan on Friday. Opening kickoff from Miami Soccer Field is at 4 p.m.

RedHawks Outlast Redbirds on Senior Day, 3-2

OXFORD, Ohio – Scoring big goals is becoming old hat for Kelsey Dinges.

Dinges’ goal in the 62nd minute snapped a 2-2 tie and lifted the Miami soccer team to a 3-2 victory over Illinois State at Miami Soccer Field on Sunday afternoon. That win capped the Senior Day festivities where Dinges, Olivia Evans, Hailey Pleshakov, Danielle Wiseman and Courtney Zanotti were honored before kickoff.

“What a great way to honor our senior class with a win like this against a quality opponent,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “It’s hard to be a division I athlete in any sport for one year. The fact that they h ave done it for four and produce like they have says great things about them, their commitment and their willingness to work hard.”

The win is Miami’s (6-1) fourth-straight and Dinges has netted the game-winning goal in each victory during that stretch.

The Redbirds (6-4) got the first good opportunity of the afternoon when Rachel Tejada was fed coming up the left side. Her shot was stopped by a leaping Wiseman, who then recovered to turn away Dagny Olson’s rebound at the other side to keep it scoreless early on.

Miami got on the board in the eighth minute after Maggie Scott forced a turnover near midfield and played Rachel Marble into the attacking box. Marble won a footrace to the ball at the right side, moved into the middle and buried her first goal of the season to put the Red and White ahead 1-0.

Play bogged down at midfield for the next 20 minutes as neither team could create much speed on the attack. The Redbirds nearly tied it up in the 23rd minute, however, when Tejada’s blast from 40 yards out dipped down and rang off the crossbar. The ball stayed in play, but MU was able to clear and prevent any damage.

Miami added to its lead in the 33rd minute when Scott scored her first goal of the season when she moved down the right side after being played in by Jenna Weiner. That tally gave the RedHawks a 2-0 lead entering the break. Miami held a slight 5-4 edge in shots in the first 45 minutes.

The Redbirds came back with a flurry to start the second half. In the 52nd minute, Tejada took advantage of a feed by Ali Farkos that deflected off a defender and right to her at the left side. She beat Wiseman to the far post for her seventh goal of the season, cutting the RedHawks’ lead to 2-1. ISU evened the score 5:25 later when Hannah Leinert drove wide on a defender down the goal line at the left wing before slipping a shot inside the near post to even the score with 34:04 remaining.

With Illinois State surging, Miami quelled the momentum in the 62nd minute when Dinges launched an absolute cannon from 25 yards out at the left wing. Her shot caught the upper 90 of the right post and slipped in to put the Red and White back on top by a 3-2 margin.

“Kelsey Dinges scored three high quality goals this weekend,” Kramig said. “To take the injury she did on Friday and come back here with a performance like this today speaks volumes of her as a player and an individual.”

As is expected of a three-time defending Missouri Valley Conference champion, Illinois State would not go quietly. With under 17 minutes remaining, a deflected ball found its way to Tejada from 15 yards out at the right side. The NCAA’s active career scoring leader wound up for a blast, but Zanotti sacrificed her body by leaping across and blocking the shot to force it out of bounds. On the ensuing corner kick, Brooke Ksiazek got her head on the feed and flicked a shot that went just over the net, keeping MU’s lead intact. The Redbirds threatened once more when Leinert got free for a low shot in the 86th minute. After an initial save by Wiseman, the ball went past the Miami keeper and sat near the goal line, but the RedHawks recovered to clear it away and preserve the win.

“We saw two pretty good teams that were committed to going forward and playing good soccer today,” Kramig said. “It was a well-played, entertaining game. Illinois State is a fine team, but our kids held in there when it got tough in the first half. We got the lead back and finished very professionally.”

Statistics could not have been much more even on the afternoon as both teams attempted 13 shots, placing five on target. ISU took seven corner kicks while MU had four attempts from the corner. Wiseman picked up her fifth win this season by stopping three of the five shots she faced.

Miami begins Mid-American Conference play against Eastern Michigan on Friday. Opening kickoff at Miami Soccer Field is at 4 p.m.

Dinges Erupts in 2-1 Win Over Marshall

OXFORD, Ohio – Kelsey Dinges scored two first-half goals to life the Miami soccer team to a 2-1 victory over Marshall at Miami Soccer Field on Friday.

The victory is the RedHawks’ (5-1) third straight and moves them to 6-3 all-time against the Thundering Herd (3-3-2).

“The first 20 minutes was some of the best soccer we played all year,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “Things kind of fell apart at times after that. I am happy with the result and we scored two very good goals today. It wasn’t the prettiest game today, but the kids worked hard and were rewarded with the win.”

Miami came out firing during the first half, with Kelsey Dinges the main catalyst on the attack. The senior won a 50-50 ball just outside the box in the 11th minute and fired a curving shot that bended inside the far post for her third goal of the season, giving the Red and White a 1-0 lead. Dinges struck again in the 27th minute on a nice flowing play from midfield. Haley Walter played the ball ahead to Amy Malone, who fed Dinges cutting up the middle. Her low shot from 20 yards out slipped inside the right post to give the RedHawks a 2-0 advantage.

Miami had the bulk of the shot attempts in the first half of play, owning a 9-4 edge in shots. Both teams had a number of set pieces, with the RedHawks and Thundering Herd attempting five corner kicks apiece. Marshall nearly got on the board late in the first half as a ball found its way to Morgan Mays near the goal box. Her close range shot was lofted high, but Vic Maniaci leaped to make a tremendous save and keep the Red and White on top by a two-goal margin at the half.

Marshall got on the board early in the second half as Kristine Culicerto headed in a crossing feed in the 47th minute to cut Miami’s lead to 2-1. That goal served as a catalyst for the Thundering Herd as it spent much larger portions of the second half in possession and in the attacking third than they did in the first half.

It appeared the RedHawks weathered the storm, but the Thundering Herd got a second wind in the final 10 minutes. With 9:40 left, Berrie Walker lofted a shot over Maniaci that appeared labeled for an equalizing goal, but the MU defense gathered the shot before the goal line and cleared it away to keep the lead intact. Marshall took one more shot the rest of the way, a long range attempt by Berrie that Maniaci smothered to secure the win.

Miami outshot Marshall 17-10 on the afternoon and also enjoyed an 8-6 advantage in corner kicks. Shots were a much more even 8-6 in favor of the Red and White in the second half. In addition to the two goals, Dinges fired a match-high six shots, placing five on net.

“Kelsey is dangerous from 30 yards in,” Kramig said. “She’s one of the best ball strikers in the conference and it was great to see her play the way she did today.”

In her first start of the season, Maniaci finished up with five saves on the six shots that she faced. Marshall’s Lizzie Kish turned away six of the eight shots she faced.

The RedHawks finish the weekend by hosting Illinois State on Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m. That contest is also senior day as Miami will honor Dinges, Olivia Evans, Hailey Pleshakov, Danielle Wiseman and Courtney Zanotti.