Going into the weekend, the Miami University soccer team had no kink in their armor with a 3-0 record. It took the Butler Bulldogs and the Windy City’s DePaul Blue Demons for dreams of a perfect season to blow away when they dropped a contest 5-2 Sept. 3 and 3-2 Sept 5.
“As a team we learned a lot,” sophomore Jess Kodiak said. “We had a rough game Friday, but Saturday we worked hard and fixed what went wrong on Friday’s game. Sunday’s game we played a lot better and showed we can compete with the best teams around and we just have to figure out our structure.”
A typically tight RedHawk (3-2) defense conceded five scores Friday. Katie Griswold and Rachel Melendez were the main reason the Bulldogs (1-4) earned their first win this season as the two were involved in every score. Griswold scored the first two goals of the contest, putting the Bulldogs up 2-0 before completing her hat trick in the second stanza. Melendez tallied two scores and a helper for the Bulldog brigade.
Senior Rachel Byron and junior Sarah Dessfelt supplied scores for the Red and White. Dessfelt now leads the ‘Hawks with four scores.
“It happens,” Kodiak said. “Everyone has an off game and it was one of those games where our defense wasn’t playing like we know they can. We just had a couple unlucky bounces and nothing was really going our way. It’s kind of nice to have those losses early on in the season so that we can learn from them with it not counting. Now that we had that we know what we have to do when that happens and not to panic, each game we can come back and each game we continue to learn from.”
Head Coach Bobby Kramig then took the team toward Lake Michigan to prepare for the DePaul University Blue Demons (3-2-1) with a tough Saturday practice, and on Sunday it showed.
“Sunday was a considerable improvement over Butler,” Kramig said. “It’s hard to take consolation in a loss, but we certainly showed dramatic improvement over Friday night. I think the most important thing for us after Friday night in my mind is we just need to start playing better. I thought we were better all around against DePaul.”
Kramig and company fought hard and played to a 2-2 deadlock, but the Red and White left Wish Field hopeless after Blue Demon Tara Strickland torched the net from 20 yards out in the 85th minute.
“We are going to keep building off what we learned Friday and Sunday,” Kodiak said. “Just keeping our defense and midfield connected and making the right runs. We can’t panic so much. We started to panic in Friday’s game and lost how we normally play. This week practice is going to be focused on that.”
Kodiak collected her third score Sept. 3 and freshman Katy Dolesh impressed her coach with her first goal in red threads.
“A couple of the freshmen had good games,” Kramig said. “Katy got the first goal today, which was really good from midfield. It was a terrific performance from her. She is one that seemed to emerge a little bit this weekend.”
The RedHawks practice in Oxford this week before weekend contests with Winthrop and Temple as part of the East Tennessee State Tournament in Johnson City.