Freshmen Sam Whitmore and Kayla Zakrzewski notch goals
OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami University women’s soccer team opened a six-game home stand by limiting Eastern Illinois to just one shot Friday afternoon while a pair of freshmen registered second-half goals to lead the RedHawks to a 2-0 victory at Miami Soccer Field on soccer’s Alumni Weekend. The win was Miami’s third straight while the ‘Hawks (6-2-0) defeated the Panthers (3-5-1) for the second year in a row.
After a slow start to the contest, Miami began to generate some offense and put pressure on Eastern Illinois, but several of the RedHawks’ shots sailed high of the target. Freshman Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.) had the lone shot on goal for Miami in the opening period but EIU’s Kaylin Lorbert was there for the stop.
The two sides went into halftime deadlocked at zero, despite the ‘Hawks outshooting the Panthers, 7-0, over the first 45 minutes and earning the lone corner kick.
“When we first came out to start the game I thought ‘Okay, this is good, we’re playing better,’ and then the steam just kind of went out of the game a little bit. The game became a little sleepy,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “I was very concerned when we came out of the second half, I thought ‘If we don’t pick this up a little bit they’re going to sneak one in and then we have a problem.’ I barked at them a little bit at halftime trying to wake them up and certainly in the second half things were better, so I was pleased with that.”
Miami didn’t waste time grabbing the lead in the second half, as freshman Sam Whitmore (Cincinnati, Ohio) gathered a loose ball just outside the 18-yard box, turned and fired a low, line drive that snuck past Lorbert against the right post for a 1-0 RedHawk lead less than five minutes into the frame. The goal was Whitmore’s fourth of the year but first since her hat trick in the season opener.
After a barrage of shots over the next 20 minutes failed to up the Miami lead, Zakrzewski finally gave the Red and White some breathing room as she poked the ball between Lorbert’s legs from her knees in the 80th minute. The score was her third of the year while fellow freshman Dani Fraelick (Glenview, Ill.) set up the scoring opportunity with a feed through the defense.
“It was outstanding,” Kramig said of the freshmen scorers. “We’d had Jess Kodiak and Katy Dolesh on an absolute tear the last three games and it was nice to see Kayla and Sam Whitmore step up today. Being able to balance our scoring and our attack is very important. It’s nice to know we have a number of players that can step up and get it done for us when we need it.”
Two minutes later, Ashley Eck fired the lone shot of the afternoon for the Panthers but it sailed left of the goal as Miami cruised to the 2-0 victory. The RedHawks finished with 18 shots, 11 coming in the second half, while putting nine on target. Lorbert finished with seven saves for EIU while redshirt freshman goalkeeper Kris Gasparovic (Rochester, Mich.) earned her second shutout in as many starts. Miami finished with a 5-0 edge in corners, as well. The one shot allowed was a season low for an opponent.
The RedHawks continue their home stand Sunday as they welcome Evansville to Miami Soccer Field for Senior Day. Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. while Miami’s six seniors will be honored prior to the start of the match.