Soccer season is officially underway.
The University of Miami women’s soccer team began its season in Gainesville with a heartbreaking loss to in-state rivals University of Florida 2-1 in double overtime with a goal by Florida’s Taylor Travis with three minutes to go.
“The Florida game was very important to us,” junior goalie Vikki Alonzo said. “It will set the tone for the rest of the season.”
The No.11 Gators scored in the first three minutes into the second half off a superb finish in the box by McKenzie Barney.
The Canes tied the game just minutes later with a great individual play by freshman Blake Stockton who stole the ball and beat the keeper to shoot the ball into the back of the net.
Despite the loss, the Canes had control of the ball and pace for great parts of the game, culminating with great opportunities up front.
“Overall we found a good chemistry,” head coach Tricia Taliaferro said. “We’ve also found ourselves more dangerous offensively, being able to create plays.”
Less than 48 hours later, UM responded to the tough loss nicely
The University of Miami showed off its offensive mindset, outshooting Stetson 27-5, in its 6-0 thrashing of the Hatters. Six different players scored in the victory for the Hurricanes.
“We added a lot more depth,” Taliaferro said. “A lot of players have stepped forward. It’s really been a collective effort and I think we’ve actually improved as a team.”
Senior midfielder Brittney Steinbruch opened up the score in the 31st minute off an assist by freshman Blake Stockton. Steinbruch led the team with seven shots in the game and is one goal shy of the UM scoring record.
“Scoring is obviously the easiest way for me to help the team win games,” Steinbruch said. “The priority still is to win and be successful.”
Senior midfielder Lauren Singer added to the lead with a goal of her own in the 51st minute to make it 2-0 for the Canes.
In the 58th minute, sophomore forward Kate Howarth got her first goal of the season with a finish in the box off an assist by freshman defender Tara Schwitter.
Sophomore midfielder Fatima Nasser added a goal off a low long distance shot in the 64th minute to make it 4-0. Just a minute later, freshman forward Kelley Griffin joined in the fun with a goal of her own to bring the score to 5-0.
In the dying minutes of the game, junior forward Brittnay Bucknor finished off the hatters with a goal off an assist by sophomore Olivia Ching in the 88th minute to round out the 6-0 score.
Buried in the scoring outburst by the Canes was the first shutout of the year for Alonzo, who holds the team record in career shutouts.
“We step in every day when we go out and we continue to grow,” Alonzo said. “Everything we do, we do as a team.”
The Stetson win helps solidify the high hopes the players and coaches have for the coming season.
“We want to have a big year, Cinderella story, whatever you want to call it,” Steinbruch said. “And go further than anyone expects.”
The Hurricanes next travel to Indiana to face Purdue Aug. 27 at 5:30 p.m.
Debora Rubi may be contacted at email@example.com.