Alex Butler, Senior Staff Writer

Senior Jessica Byron goes in for a pass against Xavier University Sept. 13, 2009. (MICHAEL GRIGGS | The Miami Student)

In 2010, the Miami University soccer team has not had to face much opposition, but this weekend that trend will change.

On Sept. 3, the RedHawks travel to the Butler Bowl to face battle the Butler University Bulldogs (0-4), but Sept. 5 could be the toughest test for Head Coach Bobby Kramig’s squad (3-0) when they walk in the Windy City against DePaul University (2-2) at Wish Field. The Bulldogs play in the Horizon League and the Blue Demons are part of the ultra-competitive Big East Conference.

“This weekend will be a little bit tougher with a higher level of competition than we’ve seen so far,” Kramig said. “That’s certainly by design. We realize that we have a young team here. It’s going to take time for things to come together, so our hope is that the competition level and the schedule gets a little more competitive each weekend.”

Butler finished 7-11-2 in 2009 and has yet to net a score so far this season. The RedHawk defense and sophomore midfielder Jess Kodiak want to keep it that way.

“It’s going to be a quicker game,” Kodiak said. “We’ve had some slower defenders. They gave us more time than we typically have, so we will have to adjust to that. We have to figure out our midfielders and our runs and our offensive third and finishing.”

The Red and White won’t be spending Sept. 5 on Michigan Avenue, but will try to bag a win over the DePaul Blue Demons. Head Coach Erin Chastain’s team was 10-9-2 in 2009.

“I think they have a better talent pool,” Kramig said. “DePaul is going to be a significant challenge. We are just kind of climbing up the competitive ladder. For us, this is appropriate. Right now we are not ready for an SEC or Big Ten team.”

Although Kramig is not tired of marking W’s on the schedule, he thinks his young team needs to get better.

“We are still making mistakes and kind of thinking through everything that we do,” Kramig said. “When we are out there on the field you can just see them go slow, and with all of these freshmen it’s to be expected.”

The meshing of old and new faces has been something fun to watch and an exciting process to be a part of for Kodiak.

“I think we’ve been working really hard,” Kodiak said. “The coaches have just been helping us and letting us know what to do. We have a lot of younger players, but the upperclassmen are really good leaders. It’ll take time, but we’re learning and getting better with each game.”

The Red and White hope to make it out of the weekend without a scratch and chalk it up as 5-0. First touch is set for 5 p.m. Sept. 3 in Indianapolis and the Sept. 5 kickoff will be at 4 p.m.

“We wanted to put together a schedule that’s enough to challenge us, be difficult for us and as we got better the competition got better,” Kramig said. “We want to be better this weekend than we were last weekend. That’s our goal and there are specific things we’ve been working on this week to make that happen.”

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