Revenge is a potent power. Oct. 17, the Miami University soccer team held a slim 1-0 lead over the University of Akron Zips at home. As the second half was ticking away, a win looked eminent.
The Zips took advantage of a mental error by the RedHawk defense and scored the tying goal before scoring again just a few minutes into overtime to beat the Red and White. Sunday, the ‘Hawks had an opportunity to right their wrong and they did so by blanking the Zips 2-0 in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) tournament quarterfinals.
“We were hoping to get a lot of revenge with Akron,” freshman Katy Dolesh said. “We were tough-minded and ready to come out and get revenge on them.”
The ‘Hawks claimed the No. 2 seed in the tournament after feasting on the Falcons of Bowling Green State University 5-2 Oct. 28. Dolesh netted two scores in the decisive triumph.
“We worked on finishing and playing with each other,” Dolesh said. “Our quote is to be the hammer, not the nail and we were the hammer.”
The win clinched the MAC East Division Championship for Head Coach Bobby Kramig’s team (13-6-1, 5-4-2 MAC).
“We are division champs and got the No. 2 seed in the tournament,” Kramig said. “Those are two pretty cool things.”
It was the second straight year the Red and White have bounced the Zips (7-11-1, 5-5-1 MAC) from the tournament.
“It was a long time coming, but we got off to a good start in the game,” Kramig said. “They never quit playing and competing and they were tough. We tried to deal with it straight on and we showed up ready to play and be very professional and very on task. I was very pleased with our preparation and our kids’ mindset and we were ready to go.”
The RedHawks started in the 28th minute Sunday, as senior Sara Lund weaved through the defense and fed the foot of junior Sarah Dessfelt. Dessfelt settled the pass and snapped the netting on the right side, beating the Zips’ keeper.
“It’s a huge thing to play at home and it’s a tremendous reward for all of the hard work that we put in,” Kramig said. “We had to make the home field advantage pay off.”
Lund registered some stat sheet currency herself in the 58th minute. Freshman Kayla Zakrzewski spotted the senior flashing through the defense and put boot to ball, perfectly finding her in the box. Lund then cut toward the keeper, forcing her to leave her mark before a perfectly timed strike on the net for a 2-0 lead.
“I think we are talented, athletic, very young and it’s been a long process of getting everybody to gel,” Kramig said. “I couldn’t have picked a better day than today for it to come together.”
Madison Ryan earned the clean sheet for the Red and White with four stops. Her first career shutout was also her third win for the RedHawks.
The Red and White have a tough challenge ahead in the MAC Semifinals with Central Michigan University. The Chippewas defeated the ‘Hawks 2-0 earlier this season. The match is set for Friday, Nov. 5 in Toledo.