Soccer, Sports

Canes prevail in two double overtime wins

Shannon Casper of Jupiter, Fla. prepares to pass the ball on Thursday, September 5 during the night game against Clemson. University of Miami beat Clemson 3-2. Zach Beeker//The Miami Hurricane

The Hurricanes are not strangers to overtime victories.

On Saturday, the Canes took home their third double overtime win of the season over Navy with Tara Schwitter’s penalty kick goal in the 102nd minute.

UM’s young players seized the opportunity to showcase their talents with a goal scored by freshman forward Ashley Flinn, assisted by freshman forward Shannon Caspar.

The Hurricanes’ win at Navy followed a thrilling home win over Clemson.

In their first ACC matchup of the season, all eyes were on the Canes and they were ready for the spotlight.

Clemson, with only two losses when they arrived in Miami, is a force to be reckoned with in the ACC.

How do the Hurricanes prepare for a big game like Thursday’s contest against Clemson?

“Dance parties,” senior goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo said.  “We stay focused on the game ahead of us while maintaining good team chemistry.”

On Thursday, the Hurricanes defeated the Tigers in a 3-2 double overtime win.

Flinn secured the win with her header, her first collegiate goal in overtime play, assisted by Schwitter.

With full bleachers and a home crowd of over 400 fans, UM started off with a bang when junior forward Kate Howarth scored on a header in the fourth minute.

The Canes kept the pressure on Clemson with solid defense, led by senior forward Brooke Van Aman.

In the 15th minute, the Hurricanes took a 2-0 lead with Howarth’s second goal of the day, assisted by Flinn.

Clemson returned just five minutes later with a goal of their own, narrowing the Miami lead to one goal again.

For the remainder of the half, UM continued to pummel Clemson goalkeeper Lauren Arnold with shots from freshman forward Shannon Caspar, junior midfielder Jordan Roseboro and sophomore forward Kelley Griffin.

Saves by UM senior goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo kept the Canes on the offensive.

As the final minutes of the first half ticked away, Schwitter crossed the ball to forward Kate Howarth, whose header soared just above the crossbar.  The Canes went to the locker room with a 2-1 lead at the half.

Miami quickly amped up their intensity with unyielding defense by junior defender Ali Brennan, junior midfielder Kim Hutchinson and freshman defender Maddie Simms.

In the first 10-minute overtime period, the Canes proved their defensive strength, allowing the Clemson offense not a single shot on goal.

As the first overtime expired, the Hurricanes once again shifted gears, this time with offensive intentions.  Just two minutes into the second overtime, the Canes secured the victory with freshman forward Ashley Flinn’s header goal with Schwitter on the assist.

“Staying focused in such a high-stakes game is all about the role of the upperclassmen,” Howarth said.  “We set an example for the younger players to follow.”

Alonzo credits the “team vibe paired with veteran experience” as a major factor in keeping calm amid the pressure of a tie game in overtime.

Throughout the entire 90 minutes of regulation and 12 minutes of overtime play, the Hurricanes continually emphasized the importance of the team unit with every player on the field and the sidelines involved in the effort.

“I think a lot of it has to do with what we do outside of soccer that keeps the team close,” Alonzo said.

The Hurricanes look to extend their winning streak on the road Thursday against the Duke Blue Devils.

September 18, 2011

Reporters

Kristen Spillane

Senior Sports Writer


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