MOUNT PLEASANT, Mich. – For over 100 minutes, the Miami soccer team managed to shut down the Mid-American Conference’s top offense, but Central Michigan got broke through in the 105th minute to down the RedHawks 1-0 on Friday night.
The double overtime defeat hands Miami (4-5-1, 1-1-1 MAC) its first conference loss.
Miami was under siege in the early minutes of the contest as Central Michigan (10-1, 2-1 MAC) fired five shots and attempted a pair of corner kicks in the first 18 minutes of play. Things bogged down afterwards as each team only got one shot off the remainder of the half. The RedHawks had a tough time getting on the attack in that stage as the shot total reflects, but after a slow start they were able to stymy the Chippewas from getting much clean possession in the attacking third as the contest remained 0-0 into halftime.
“Central is a good team first and foremost,” head coach Bobby Kramig said. “They are disciplined and organized and know exactly what they’re doing. I think there’s a lot we can learn from this game and a lot we could have done better and hopefully will do better in the future. The most important thing now is to recover and bounce back to play Eastern Michigan.”
Both teams were able to open up on the attack a little more in the second half as the teams combined for 15 shots in the final 45 minutes of regulation. The Red and White managed to get some sustained pressure on the Chippewa goal as the half wore on. A corner kick in the 78th minute created a couple of opportunities for the RedHawks. Amy Malone got the first crack with the ball played cleanly to her in the box, but her attempt was blocked by a CMU defender and Dana Miller’s follow up went high of the goal.
In the 85th minute, Sam Worthman got a shot off from 16 yards out that seemed to handcuff CMU goalkeeper Kristen Knutson. The Chippewas countered by taking four of their nine shots in the half over the last four minutes, with Vic Maniaci turning aside a couple of stops down the stretch to send the contest into overtime.
The first overtime saw both teams take just one errant shot, with CMU’s coming off a free kick from 19 yards out in the 92nd minute that went high. MU came out aggressive in double overtime, getting another good service into the box on a corner kick early on, but once again a CMU defender blocked the shot from getting through. Moments later, the RedHawks got a free kick from 25 yards out and attempted to fire a shot off of the look, but it went wide.
It appeared that the contest would end deadlocked until the Chippewas counterattacked with under five minutes left. CMU’s top scorer Alexis Pelafas was played into the box with a bouncing ball and from there she sealed a defender and with her back to the goal flicked a shot that caught the inside of the near post and went in. Her 11th goal of the year ended Maniaci’s shutout streak at 321:52.
Overall, CMU outshot MU by a 17-10 margin, but that was a much tighter 11-9 Central Michigan edge in the second half. Maniaci stopped six of the seven shots that came her way while Knutson steered away all four shots she faced.
Miami concludes its weekend trip through Michigan on Sunday when it faces Eastern Michigan at 1 p.m.