Miami Narrowly Edged in MAC Championship Game, 1-0

Zwingelberg, Karlsson, Lund named to All-Tournament Team

Senior Jodi Zwingelberg (above) was named to the All-MAC Tournament Team for the second time in her career. She was joined on this years team by junior Sara Lund and sophomore Alexandra Karlsson.

Senior Jodi Zwingelberg (above) was named to the All-MAC Tournament Team for the second time in her career. She was joined on this year's team by junior Sara Lund and sophomore Alexandra Karlsson.

MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – After knocking off the third and second seeds to reach the Mid-American Conference Championship, the Miami University women’s soccer team was unable to complete the trifecta, coming up just short to host and top-seeded Central Michigan, 1-0, on a warm and sunny Sunday afternoon at the CMU Soccer Complex. The RedHawks, who finish the year 12-8-1, are now 3-1-1 in MAC Championship games all-time, while the Chippewas (16-3-3) claimed their first MAC Tournament title after also winning the regular-season crown.

Central Michigan sophomore defender Claire Horton’s unassisted goal in the 14th minute of the match proved to be the difference for CMU. Miami’s best chance for an equalizer came in the 88th minute when junior Sara Lund (Malmo, Sweden) was dragged down in the box, earning a penalty kick for the Red & White. Senior Allison Berkey (Hopkinton, Mass.), who tied Friday’s semifinal with a converted penalty kick, was unable to beat Central Michigan keeper Shay Mannino low and to the left on the kick, and the RedHawks could not jam in the rebound.

CMU finished with an 11-9 shot advantage, although Miami out-shot the Chippewas 7-6 in the second half. Central Michigan also held a big, 9-4 edge in corner kicks, including a 6-2 difference in the opening half. Berkey led Miami with three shots in the match (two on goal), while both Mannino and senior keeper Krista Pace (Toronto, Ont.) had three saves, as CMU had one extra shot on goal.

Despite Central Michigan controlling much of the first half, Miami had chances early but was unable to get a good look. The Chippewas put pressure on Miami with a cross and a shot that eventually came out to Horton, who blasted a shot from outside the box that sailed over Pace’s head into the far, upper corner of the goal for what turned out to be the game-winner.

CMU continued to earn corners, but the RedHawk defense held strong, limiting their chances. In the final minute of the half, Miami earned a corner that led to Lund sending a cross just in front of the net, but a Chippewa defender cleared it off the goal line to keep it a 1-0 game at halftime. CMU had a 5-2 edge in shots in the period.

The RedHawks came out firing in the second half, attacking into the CMU zone early and often. Sophomore Courtney Clarke’s (Scarborough, Ont.) header off a corner kick just 2:30 into the second stanza hit the crossbar while a Berkey free kick went just inches wide of the goal less than a minute later. Miami earned three corners in the opening five minutes of the half, but was unable to convert on any of them.

“We changed our system a little bit,” head coach Bobby Kramig said of the second-half burst. “We discussed it last week. We had a plan, ‘What if we’re a goal up, what if we’re a goal down’ type thing. We were prepared for it. We made the adjustments we had planned on making and I thought they were effective, we were just unlucky not to get a goal.”

In the 73rd minute, the Chippewas almost made it a two-goal game on a header by Chelsi Abbott, but Pace was there for the stop. With less than 15 minutes to play, junior Julie Thompson (Glenview, Ill.) slipped a ball into the box to sophomore Krysti Clarke (Scarborough, Ont.), however she couldn’t get her foot on the end of it to even the match. The RedHawks then earned the penalty kick late and did not get another shot on goal despite a late rush in the final seconds.

Senior Jodi Zwingelberg (Elgin, Ill.), sophomore Alexandra Karlsson (Malmo, Sweden), and Lund, who had two goals in the tournament, were named to the All-MAC Tournament Team for Miami. Zwingelberg also earned All-Tournament Team honors as a freshman in 2006.

The match served as the final game for Miami’s five seniors: Pace, Berkey, Zwingelberg, Stephanie Laser (Hinsdale, Ill.) and Kersta Carlson (Plymouth, Minn.).

“The senior class has been everything to this program,” Kramig said. “They’ve been the focal point of the season since day one and even last spring. Their leadership, the example they’ve set for the other players and their play on the field has been absolutely phenomenal and they are not replaceable.”

Miami’s 12 wins were its most victories since 2002, also earning its first 10-win season and first record above .500 since that same year.

“We felt like we achieved most of our goals for the season. We feel like we’ve got some things in place now that we’ve been missing the last few years and hopefully we can continue them,” Kramig said. “We have a lot of work to do in the spring and a lot of areas of our game where we need to get better but the work that’s been done this year and the change in attitude put in place by our senior class will stay for a long, long time.”

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