Miami faces defending MAC champions Friday, hosts Eagles Sunday
OXFORD, Ohio – Riding its longest winning streak since 2002, the Miami University women’s soccer will look to extend that streak and exact some revenge this weekend as the RedHawks host defending Mid-American Conference Champion Central Michigan and Eastern Michigan in pivotal league showdowns to close out a six-game home stand. Miami battles the Chippewas, who defeated the Red and White in last year’s MAC Tournament title game, on Friday at 4 p.m. before welcoming the Eagles to Miami Soccer Field on Sunday at 1 p.m.
The ‘Hawks (9-2-0, 2-0-0 MAC) opened MAC play last weekend with a pair of one-goal victories over Kent State and Buffalo to run its win streak to six games. Miami won seven games in a row twice in 2002, which ties for the school record. The 2-0 start in league play is also the team’s first since 2002.
Miami has had a prolific offense in 2010, as the RedHawks rank second in the nation and first in the MAC in goals per game at 3.36, trailing only UTEP (3.80) nationally. Freshman Katy Dolesh (South Euclid, Ohio) leads the team and is tied for the MAC lead with six goals, including three in the pair of games last weekend. Six other RedHawks have at least three goals, including sophomore Jess Kodiak (Naperville, Ill.), who has five and leads the league in points with 18. Her eight assists in 2010 are one shy of tying the school’s single-season record, are first in the MAC and tied for fourth in the country. Freshman Kayla Zakrzewski (London, Ont.) is second in the conference in assists with sixth.
Defensively, Miami ranks eighth in the league with a 1.45 goals-against average despite tying for second in the MAC with four shutouts. Three of those clean sheets have been recorded by redshirt freshman Kris Gasparovic (Rochester, Mich.), who has eight saves in her three starts. Senior Rachelle Boff (Naples, Fla.) has seen the most action in net, starting six games, and has a 5-1 record with a 2.18 GAA.
The reigning MAC regular-season and Tournament champion Chippewas (5-3-1, 2-0-0 MAC) come to Oxford after downing Akron and Ohio to begin league play last weekend by a combined 6-1 score. CMU claimed the MAC Tournament title a year ago with a 1-0 victory over Miami in the championship match. Central Michigan is fourth in the MAC this year averaging 1.33 goals per game but leads that category in league-play only. Nicole Samuel paces CMU with a trio of goals while Laura Twidle and Claire Horton each have a pair of assists. The Chippewas have the top defense in the MAC, allowing just six scores all season for a 0.65 GAA. Shay Mannino is the league’s top keeper as well with a 0.42 GAA.
In addition to the MAC Championship game last year, the Chippewas also defeated Miami 1-0 in the regular season in Mt. Pleasant and blanked the ‘Hawks 3-0 in 2008. Miami’s last win over CMU came in 2007 but the Chippewas still hold a 9-6-2 lead in the all-time series.
Eastern Michigan (4-5-2, 1-0-1 MAC), who hosts Bowling Green Friday before heading south to Oxford, is also unbeaten in league play after tying Ohio in its league opener, 0-0, before topping Akron, 4-1. EMU and Miami share one common opponent in Eastern Illinois, with the Eagles winning 1-0 and the ‘Hawks downing EIU 2-0 earlier this season. EMU averages just 1.09 goals a game, which ties for sixth in the league, led by three goals each from Paige Sheridan and Maggie Christensen. Sheridan also leads the team with seven points. On defense, the Eagles have a 1.46 GAA, which is ninth in the MAC, just behind the ‘Hawks. Monique Budani has started all 11 games this year in goal and has three clean sheets with an .832 save percentage.
Miami took both meetings with Eastern Michigan last year, 1-0 in the regular season at Ypsilanti and 2-1 in the MAC Tournament semifinals. EMU had won the two meetings prior by a combined 7-1, however. The all-time series is deadlocked at 8-8-1.
Live stats will be available via Gametracker on MURedHawks.com for both matches this weekend. The RedHawks then hit the road for games at Ball State Oct. 8 and at Toledo Oct. 10.