The National Anthem was blaring through the speakers at Cobb Stadium Friday night, but it was another sound that made Miami goalie Lauren McAdam throw her hands in the air – the siren of the Thor-guard Lightning Detection system. The sound meant waiting for the Hurricanes, eager to erase the memory of the loss to Florida Atlantic University that ended their five game winning streak.
While the game was delayed for 45 minutes, the desire to play never tapered, and it carried Miami’s Women’s Soccer team (6-1-0) to a 1-0 win over the Bulls of South Florida (4-2-1).
Early on, the game was a defensive struggle, with some missed opportunities for the home side. Shots at the 11th, 28th, and 40th minutes were off-target by razor-thin margins. This lack of scoring led the self-titled “Hurricane Hooligans,” seated in the student section, to cheer not only for the ‘Canes, but for other, not-so-soccer related things, such as the ball boy and the sideline referee. But their wandering encouragement was refocused in the 62nd minute.
Defender Kristen Chapman headed a corner kick from fellow defender Jessica Wyble into the left side of the net, producing a 1-0 lead which would hold through the remainder of the game.
“I was excited to finally be able to capitalize on the corner opportunity and score a goal, especially considering that I’m a defender,” Chapman said.
Wyble felt that previous missed opportunities had allowed the ‘Canes to learn, adapt, and capitalize at the right time.
“We really built into a peak of mentality,” Wyble said. “We were finally able to finish the deal, sign the check.”
That goal was all that the Hurricane defense needed, stifling the Bulls for the length of the match, and allowing but a single shot on goal, coming in the 72nd minute.
Head Coach Tricia Taliaferro found the greatest highlight to be the overpowering defense, and the greatest lesson applied was a better grasp on clock management.
“We did well defensively creating turnovers,” Taliaferro said. “Last time, we felt like we were rushed. This time, we learned our lesson and played our game. Once we went up, we slowed our game down and didn’t allow the other team to have Women’s Soccer offensive chances late.”
The ‘Canes now enter the rougher waters of conference play, opening their Atlantic Coast Conference schedule with a match at an undefeated NC State (5-0-2) on Thursday.
“We’re obviously happy with success and can take confidence out of this game,” Taliaferro said. “Now, we can focus in on the ACC and tackle a whole new set of challenges.”
Matthew Bunch may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org