Canes hope to regain form

FILE PHOTO by Steve Root // Hurricane Staff

Flash back to less than three weeks ago.

The University of Miami’s women’s soccer team recorded its seventh-consecutive victory – a program record – and prepared to host its final non-conference opponent, Brigham Young.

In a close match, the Canes fell 1-0, which in turn started a downward slide they have yet to escape.

Sophomore forward Brittney Steinbruch, who started the season by scoring a goal in each of the first six games, cannot find the back of the net like the rest of the offense.

During their seven-game winning streak, the Hurricanes tallied 16 goals and outshot their opponents at times by double digits.

Over its last five games, or a total of 490 minutes, Miami has scored only once.

The team’s record over the period: 0-3-2.

Led by freshman goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo, the defense, which recorded six shutouts in seven games and held one of the best goals-against averages, has surrendered seven goals during this span.

After Eastern Michigan’s head coach made the claim that the women’s soccer team was untested, the Hurricanes took care of business and squeaked by with a 1-0 victory before the current skid.

It appears that after all of this, however, he might’ve had a point.

Of the 12 teams in the ACC, six are ranked in the top 25, including North Carolina, Duke and Virginia in the top 10.

But it’s not all a depressing matter.

At 7-3-2, Miami needs just two wins to tie last year’s total of nine with eight more ACC matches to go, including five on the road, before the conference tournament.

Last year’s team played in the NCAA tournament for only the second time in the program’s history when it faced 17th-ranked Florida and fell 3-0.

Injuries to key starters such as senior forward Rachael Rigamat and junior midfielder Beverly Goebel have affected the team’s experience and formations on the field.

In their 2-0 loss to No. 10 Virginia (8-1-1, 2-0-0) on Sunday, the Canes aligned with only one forward – junior Paulelett Ricks-Chambers, who returned from a redshirt year.

It seems that the youth and inexperience that failed to show early on has finally caught up with the eight freshmen and six sophomores.

With an important road test beginning Thursday at 14th-ranked Boston College (7-1-2, 1-0-1), the Hurricanes need to get back on the right track.

Even more important might be Sunday’s matchup against Maryland (4-5-1, 0-2-0), a rare subpar team in the soccer-rich ACC.

The tutelage of head coach Tricia Taliaferro and the effort displayed the girls will get them through this rough patch and lead to the much-needed momentum down the homestretch.