The women’s soccer team started their ACC schedule on a positive note, beating the North Carolina State Wolfpack 2-1 on Thursday night.
Coming into the game, the two teams were pretty evenly matched, with the Wolfpack holding one more win than the ‘Canes.
At the beginning of the first half, however, it seemed as if NC State was the more aggressive team. They pushed the ball and tried to create scoring opportunities for themselves, executing two corner kicks within the first 16 minutes of play. But the Hurricanes’ defense was solid in preventing the Wolfpack from scoring a goal.
The momentum changed in the 39th minute. A shot from freshman Brittney Steinbruch was saved by the goalie but deflected into the penalty box. The rebounded attempt from Brittney Macdonald was saved again, but freshman Lauren Singer collected the second rebound and earned Miami’s first point of the game. The goal seemed to spark Miami’s offense, which remained strong for the remainder of the game.
After taking a 1-0 lead into halftime, the ‘Canes continued to play aggressively in the second half, putting together a number of organized runs. In the 60th minute, Singer led a break down the middle of the field and executed a beautiful through pass to Steinbruch on the right side of the field. Steinbruch received a short dribble and shot the ball into the far left post, extending the lead to 2-0.
With time winding down, the Wolfpack avoided the shutout loss when Jessica O’Rourke headed the ball over the defender into the goal in the 89th minute.
The Hurricanes’ win was significant because it was their first match-up against a conference opponent, and it’s the team’s first ACC-opening win since they joined the conference in 2004.
“It’s huge for our confidence,” said Head Coach Tricia Taliaferro, whose team is 5-2-2 as of Thursday night. “We know we’re a good team. It was our goal to win the first one so we can build off of it.”
The game was played aggressively, with the ‘Canes picking up 22 total fouls and two yellow cards. Taliaferro said the team was forced to play that way in order to match NC State’s intensity.
“Defensively, we worked on our shape and our communication,” she said.
One pleasant surprise for the Hurricanes has been Steinbruch, who recorded a goal and an assist in the game. The freshman leads the team with 10 goals in nine games played.
“Everybody else has been holding up their end of the bargain, and I think everyone has just been working hard as a team to get the end result,” Steinbruch said. “With all the girls around you, it’s a lot easier to do. You’re not by yourself, that’s for sure.”
Joel Brown may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.