WOMEN’S SOCCER: Miami faces pivotal ACC matches

The women’s soccer team hopes to rebound from a double-overtime loss to No. 4 Virginia this week as it takes on No. 9 Boston College Thursday night and Maryland Sunday afternoon at Cobb Stadium.

“Coming out of the weekend with that close game against UVA, we’ve gained a lot of momentum and we improved as a team,” Head Coach Tricia Taliaferro said. “That game is motivating us to get back into practice this week and take advantage of the opportunity to play Boston College and Maryland at home. I think the two games are going to be big because they are right in the middle of the ACC schedule. It’s a defining moment really, and will help to set the standings. We are very excited about being at home.”

After the loss to the Cavaliers in Charlottesville, Va. that broke an unbeaten streak of six games, the ‘Canes fell into a four-way tie for third place in the ACC, just ahead of Boston College, who is unbeaten.

With an all-time record of 1-6 against the Eagles dating back to the Big East days of 1999, the series has been one-sided, with the lone victory for Miami coming in 2002 when Boston College was ranked No. 22.

Of the seven meetings, Boston College was ranked nationally in four of them. Last year, however, in a close 2-1 loss, the Hurricanes fell below the Eagles (8-4) in the standings with a record of 7-5.

Forward Brittney Steinbruch, NSCAA player of the week, has netted 12 goals this season for the ‘Canes. ACC co-player of the week forward Brooke Knowlton of the Eagles has six points on the season.

Sunday afternoon’s game may provide a much easier test for the Hurricanes as they take on the Maryland Terrapins in the fourth match between the two teams since the ‘Canes moved into the ACC in 2004.

The series between the two teams favors Miami with a 2-0-1 record, as a result of last year’s game in College Park, Md. The game ended in a 0-0 tie with an advantage in shots and corner kicks toward the Terps.

Coming into this weekend, Maryland lies at the bottom of the standings with NC State at a record of 5-4-2 (0-3 ACC) despite nearly tying No. 12 North Carolina last weekend.

The Terrapins record is misleading, with close losses to ranked opponents in Wake Forest, Clemson and USC.

“I think this weekend coming up is going to be extremely important for us, especially with our position right now in the ACC,” senior midfielder Sheuneen Tau said. “This is a chance for us to remain in the top half. We’ve done so well so far, and if we can win these two games we can try to stay in the top three places in the ACC.”

Christina De Nicola may be contacted at c.denicola@umiami.edu.