Oct. 24, 2005
After extending their season-best winning streak to three matches and clinching a spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament for the sixth time in seven years, the fourth-place Miami University women's soccer team (8-7-0, 6-4-0 MAC) hosts the second-place Ball State Cardinals (14-3-1, 7-2-1) in a game with seeding implications for the MAC Tournament (Friday, Oct. 28). Home field advantage is on the line for Miami as the top four teams in the conference host a first-round tournament game, and a win against Ball State guarantees Miami a first round game at Miami Soccer Field where the RedHawks are 4-1-0 this season and 38-13-3 all time in conference play, including the postseason.
MILESTONE ALERT: With Sunday's 1-0 win over Northern Illinois, head coach Bobby Kramig won his 250th career game and moved one win away from reaching the 100 win plateau with the Miami women's soccer team. Now in his 23rd season at the collegiate level, Kramig won 138 games with the Miami men's program before moving on to coach the women's team beginning in 1997.
THE ART OF SEEDING: With the field of eight already set for the MAC Tournament, Miami's final regular season game will help determine the seeding in the postseason. The top four teams in the conference will host a first round game, and a Miami win would guarantee that it will host a quarterfinal game when the tournament begins on Tuesday, Nov. 1.
PLAYOFF POSSIBILITIES: Five of the six MAC games on Friday, Oct. 28 (excluding the Akron/Ohio game) will impact the seeding for the upcoming MAC Tournament. For Miami, the possible playoff scenarios are as follows: a Miami win keeps the RedHawks in Oxford for a first round home game. A Miami tie coupled with a Central Michigan tie, a Toledo win, and a Kent State tie or loss would still give the RedHawks home field advantage, but a Miami tie with a CMU win or a KSU win would put the RedHawks on the road for the opening round. If Miami loses and CMU, KSU and UT all lose, it would still host a first round game, but any combination of a Miami loss and a win by CMU, KSU or Toledo would make the RedHawks a visitor for the quarterfinal round. The three games the RedHawks will have their eyes on are Central Michigan at Eastern Michigan (3 p.m.), Bowling Green at Toledo (3 p.m.) and Kent State at Buffalo (6 p.m.).
GET OUT THE BROOMS: After splitting each of its first four weekend series in MAC play, Miami swept its first weekend conference series of the year when it posted a pair of 1-0 wins over Western Michigan (Oct. 21) and Northern Illinois (Oct. 23). Miami's two wins propelled them from sixth to fourth in the conference with one game remaining, and it also left them in control of their own fate in the push for home field advantage in the conference tournament.
WE'RE GOING STREAKING: With its pair of wins over Western Michigan (Oct. 21) and Northern Illinois (Oct. 23). Miami moved its season-best winning streak to three matches, the first time it has won three-consecutive games since September of 2004 when it defeated Western Michigan (Sept. 19), Kent State (Sept. 24) and Buffalo (Sept. 26).
PRIME TIME PLAYER: Sophomore Lindy Slinger tallied her fourth goal of the season in Miami's 1-0 win over Northern Illinois (Oct. 23)--placing her second on the team in scoring--but it has been Slinger's timing that has keyed the RedHawks' offense. Three of her four goals have been game winners as Slinger also tallied game-winning goals against Michigan (Sept. 11) and Eastern Michigan (Oct. 7). Her three game-winning goals puts her in a tie for second in the conference.
PLAYMAKER FROM THE OLD LINE STATE: Junior Kathleen Vistica from Morovia, Md. tallied her team-leading sixth goal of the season in Miami's 1-0 win over the Western Michigan Broncos (Oct. 21). In her third year, Victica has rebounded from a 2004 injury that limited her to 12 games and emerged as the RedHawks top offensive threat. Through 10 conference games, Vistica ranks first in the MAC in points-per-game (15/1.07 PPG), third in goals-per-game (6/0.43 GPG), fourth in goals (6) and fifth in points (15/1.07 PPG).
RESETTING THE RECORD: With each save for the rest of the season, senior keeper Leigh Terry will add to her total as the Miami career-saves leader. Terry became the career-saves leader after she made four first-half saves against Kentucky, on Sept. 3. With her 40 saves this year, Terry now has 153 career saves. Terry also ranks third overall in the MAC in goals-against average with a 1.07 GAA.
SCOUTING BALL STATE: The second-place Ball State Cardinals--2-3-1 all time against Miami--have already clinched home field in the quarterfinals of the MAC Tournament as they enter this weekend's match with a 7-2-1 conference record. The Broncos are unbeaten in their last five matches, and their only non-win was a 2-2 tie against the Akron Zips (Oct. 16). Ball State is coming off a pair of home wins last weekend over the Northern Illinois Huskies (2-0, Oct. 21) and the Western Michigan Broncos (2-0, Oct. 23), and their only conference losses were at Buffalo (1-0, Sept. 25) and at Central Michigan (2-1, Oct. 7). During non-conference play, the Cardinals won eight of their nine matches with their only blemish coming in a 1-0 loss to Illinois State (Sept. 2).
Ball State's statistical rankings speak to their dominance in 2005 as they rank No. 1 overall in seven categories. The Cardinals rank first in the MAC in shots (15.33 SPG), points (6.00 PPG), goals (39), goals-per game (2.17 GPG), goals allowed (0.61 GPG), goals-against average (0.60) and shutouts (9). They have held six of their ten conference opponents scoreless while also scoring two or more goals in 13 of their 16 matches. Ball State has also tallied three or more goals on six occasions, including a season high six goals versus IPFW (Sept. 9). Miami, by contrast, has only scored three goals on one occasion.
On offense, five Cardinals have tallied double-digit point totals with freshman Emily Rein leading the way with seven goals and 15 points. In goal, junior Allison Becker has started 17 games and turned in a 0.56 goals-against average, 57 saves and an .851 save percentage. Becker leads the MAC in both save percentage and shutouts.
MIAMI AND THE MAC: Over the past seven seasons in the Mid-American Conference, Miami has posted a record of 51-26-4, 25 games above .500 and good for a .654 winning percentage. Miami won three conference tournament titles in 2000, 2001 and 2002 and has finished with a winning conference record in five of the last six seasons. The RedHawks only season with a losing record in the MAC since 1998 was two seasons ago when they finished 5-6-1.
HOME IS WHERE THE WINS ARE: Since joining the MAC in 1997, Miami holds a 32-13-3 record (.698 wining percentage) in MAC regular-season play. Including the postseason, Miami is 38-13-3 at Miami Soccer Field in conference action with 30 wins in the past seven years, including 4-1-0 in the 2005 season.
PROTECT YOUR NET: The Miami defense posted back-to-back shutouts versus Western Michigan (Oct. 21) and Northern Illinois (Oct. 23), marking the second time this season that the RedHawks have blanked back-to-back opponents. Miami previously held Michigan (Sept. 11) and Northeastern (Sept. 15) scoreless, and the shutout of NIU was Miami's sixth shutout of the season. Miami has held six opponents scoreless this season, its highest total in a season since 2002 when they held 10 opponents without a goal.
FRESHMAN FIRSTS: In Miami's 1-0 win over Northern Illinois on Oct. 23, freshman Allison Berkey tallied her first collegiate point when she assisted on Lindy Slinger's game-winning goal at the 16:32 mark. Berkey is one of three freshmen--Danielle Hays, Kristin Smith and Stephanie Wilson are the others--to tally her first collegiate point in 2005.
WHEN TWO IS BETTER THAN ONE: The combination in goal of senior Leigh Terry and junior Shannon Chew has posted six shutouts this season, the latest coming last weekend with a pair of 1-0 win over Western Michigan (Oct. 21) and Northern Illinois (Oct. 23). The tandem of keepers also has shutout No. 17 Michigan (Sept. 11), Northeastern (Sept. 15) and Buffalo (Sept. 23), and aided by a steady effort from Miami's defensive corps, the duo has combined to allow one goal or less on eleven occasions this season.
LAST WEEK VERSUS WESTERN MICHIGAN: Led by the foot of junior leading scorer Kathleen Vistica and the relentless effort of their defensive corps, the Miami RedHawks moved one step closer to clinching a berth in the Mid-American Conference Tournament with their 1-0 win over the conference-leading Western Michigan Broncos. Vistica tallied her sixth goal of the season at 79:27 off an assist from sophomore Lindy Slinger, while Miami's defense notched its fifth shutout of the season by holding the Broncos scoreless. Western Michigan had led the MAC during conference play in both goals (15) and points per game (5.75) prior to the contest, but the RedHawks, led by senior defender Lindsay Dunmead and the goalkeeping tandem of senior Leigh Terry and sophomore Shannon Chew, limited the Broncos to seven shots on goal.
Playing on a rain-soaked field which had seen heavy showers over the last 24 hours, both teams struggled to find their rhythm in the first half as they had to adjust to the wet field conditions. Miami failed to put a shot on goal in the first 45 minutes while Western Michigan's best scoring opportunity came in the 9th minute when a booming Chantal Robinson kick from nearly 25 yards out sailed just over the crossbar. Miami posted all four of its shots after intermission while three second-half saves by Chew helped keep the game scoreless. Western Michigan nearly ended a 0-0 deadlock at the 69:58 mark when Mandi Marsh juked a defender in the box and fired a shot destined for the top corner, but a diving save from Chew kept the Broncos off the scoreboard.
LAST WEEK VERSUS NORTHERN ILLINOIS: By posting its sixth shutout of the season and extending its season-best winning streak to three matches, the Miami RedHawks guaranteed itself a spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament with its 1-0 win over the Northern Illinois Huskies. Miami clinched its sixth postseason berth in the past seven seasons behind a stifling defensive effort that held an opponent scoreless for the second-consecutive match. After shutting down the conference-leading Western Michigan Broncos on Friday, the RedHawks' defensive corps, led by senior Lindsay Dunmead and junior Megan Ortner, limited the Huskies to eight shots, three of which were on goal.
The RedHawks notched their only goal of the match at the 16:32 mark when freshman Allison Berkey assisted on sophomore Lindy Slinger's third-game winning goal of the season. From just outside the box on the far sideline, Berkey sent a cross in front of the net to Slinger, who boxed out her defender and fired a shot past Northern Illinois' diving keeper. The assist gave Berkey her first career collegiate point while the goal was Slinger's fourth of the season. Miami had opportunities to stretch its lead to two goals in the second half as they posted five shots on goal in the final 45 minutes, but Huskie keeper Carrie Dvorak stopped all five shots, including a diving save of a Slinger shot at 66:11. From the near sideline, Slinger juked a defender and blasted a left-footed shot from 20 yards out that appeared to be curling just inside the far post, but Dvorak dove and punched the shot away to keep Northern within striking distance.
With its shutout of the Huskies, Miami held consecutive opponents scoreless for the second time this season. The RedHawks had previously held Michigan (Sept. 11) and Northeastern (Sept. 15) without a goal in back-to-back games.