The University of Miami women’s soccer team extended its winning streak with a dominating 2-0 victory over the Syracuse Orange in a physical contest on Sunday afternoon at Cobb Stadium.
“Every game we try and go in with the same mentality, the same organization and getting things done,” Head Coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “Just making sure when we have opportunities, we have to finish them. In so many games this season we’ve had such wonderful opportunities, but we weren’t finishing them. Our backline has been doing a really good job of staying composed and I’m just really proud of them.”
The Canes (7-4-0, 2-1-0 ACC) scored twice within a 10-minute time frame in the second half to defeat the Orange (7-3-2, 0-2-1 ACC).
Miami came inches away from striking early on in the 34th minute when redshirt senior defender Shannon McCarthy sent a free kick toward the six-yard box and fellow senior co-captain Gianna Dal Pozzo headed the ball. It banged off the far post. Senior forward Gracie Lachowecki followed up the rebound, but Syracuse’s goalkeeper was up to the task.
The Canes would limit the Orange to just one shot attempt before the break, a half that contained 16 combined fouls between the two sides.
Out of the intermission, the Hurricanes came out with an agenda. They upped the pace and took control of the game by firing 15 shots, of which six were on target, compared to five (one on goal) registered by the Orange in the second half.
“I just reminded them that we had such a wonderful win on Thursday and we needed to be that team that we were on Thursday night for the next 45 minutes,” Frances-Monroe said about her message to the team at halftime. “I wanted them to come out and show what Miami soccer is all about.”
The Hurricanes had another opportunity to hit twine in the 64th minute when senior defender Emily Auld played the ball short off a corner kick to McCarthy, who sent it into the box. Freshman forward Kristina Fisher got the ball and rocketed one off the crossbar.
The Canes would make their next play set count.
In the 72nd minute, Dal Pozzo sent a free kick into the box that McCarthy headed to junior forward Ronnie Johnson. Johnson connected on the volley for her fourth goal of the season, giving Miami a 1-0 lead.
“We’ve been working a lot on getting the ball across and the people toward the back post either looking to get it on frame or get it back across,” Johnson said. “G [Gianna Dal Pozzo] put it back where it was supposed to be, and I turned and volleyed it in.”
The Canes wouldn’t settle for just one goal, and kept the pressure on the Orange.
Less than 10 minutes later, in the 81st minute, Miami would double its lead thanks to the foot of Lachowecki, who received a long ball from Dal Pozzo and cut back to beat a defender and slip it past the Syracuse keeper.
“We always at the beginning of the game say ‘let’s test their backline and hit it over them and see if we can get on the other end of it,’” Lachowecki said. “Once their defense gets a little tired and they’re stepping up a little, we do hit those balls and we’ve scored two goals off of it the past two games.”
Lachowecki’s goal moved her into a tie for fifth on the Hurricanes’ all-time scoring list, becoming one of six players in the history of the program with 20 career goals.
“That’s pretty awesome,” Lachowecki said of her illustrious goal. “It’s not something you really think about. You just go out there and hope you can put your team in a good position.”
The Canes’ defense held strong the rest of the way, giving redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce her sixth clean sheet of the season.
Miami looks to continue its climb up the table in the ACC when they host Wake Forestat 2 p.m. on Sunday at Cobb Stadium.