By Harrison Schwarz, For The Miami Student
The Miami University women’s soccer team looks to continue its three-game winning streak in its final road trip of the season this weekend against Western Michigan University and Northern Illinois University.
Western Michigan (7-3-3, 4-1-1 MAC) is the biggest test the RedHawks (9-4, 5-1 MAC) face so far this season, but head coach Bobby Kramig said he’s treating the game like any other.
“The Western game is no more important than any other game in the MAC,” Kramig said. “All the games are worth three points. The game against Western is the same three points against Northern, which is the same three points as Akron next week.”
“Right now, I’d say Western is the most important game of the year for us. If you were to ask me on Saturday, I’d say Northern is the most important game of the year for us. We take it one game at a time.”
With five games left in their schedule, Miami ranks first in the MAC and 25th in the nation.
Junior goalkeeper Vic Maniaci has allowed two goals in her past eight games, and her .570 goals against average leads all MAC goalkeepers.
WMU is right behind MU with a .63 GAA per game and averages 1.83 goals per game. The Broncos are second in the MAC West division behind Ball State University. Miami is 14-3-2 all-time against the Broncos.
Senior midfielder and team captain Haley Walter is keeping her eye on the prize, the MAC Championship.
“Western is going to be a good team,” Walter said. “They’ve been doing well, and we’ve been doing well. It’s just a matter of taking it one game at a time and making sure that we’re focused on Western and giving them our best performance so we can get that much closer to the MAC Championship.”
Northern Illinois (2-11, 1-5 MAC) isn’t expected to be as strong as Western Michigan, but the game hits close to home. NIU knocked the ’Hawks out of the MAC playoffs last year in the first round. The Huskies were the No. 7 seed and MU was the No. 2 seed.
The RedHawks hold a 14-4-2 series advantage against the Huskies. NIU is eighth in the MAC, scoring 1.15 goals per match and allowing a MAC-worst 2.46 goals against average. Northern Illinois is coming off last week’s 4-1 loss to the University of Buffalo and 2-1 loss to Akron University.
MU plays Western Michigan at 4 p.m. Friday in Kalamazoo, Michigan and Northern Illinois at 2 p.m. Sunday in DeKalb, Illinois.