In the first half of its Friday match against the visiting Idaho Vandals, the UM women’s soccer team simply could not finish. The Hurricanes had 11 shots in the first frame, including three superb chances in the first four minutes of the contest.
But during a span of 40 seconds in the second half, everything changed in what ended up a 3-0 victory for the Canes.
Freshman Amy Schmidt scored her first career goal off a rebound in the 49th minute after Idaho goalkeeper Liz Boyden knocked away a free kick. Senior Jordan Roseboro was credited with the assist.
Then, in the 50th minute, senior Kate Howarth netted her second goal of the season, heading home a cross from sophomore Maddie Simms.
“I think it was just a matter of the mind putting the ball on the frame,” UM coach Tom Anagnost said of the momentum shift after halftime. “We didn’t put the ball on the frame in the first half. We had at least three breakaways right off the bat and only one of them was even on the goal. So, it’s just having confidence and a little more composure.”
Sophomore Ashley Flinn provided the game’s final score in the 86th minute. The Michigan native found the back of the net on a breakaway after a pretty through ball from freshman Jasmine Peterson.
“At halftime my coach told me that the goalie is going to come out hard, so just place it in the corner,” Flinn said. “So as soon as I saw the goalie coming out I just knew to place it right around her.”
Flinn explained that while the Canes were struggling to find the net in the first half, they did a nice job of picking each other up.
“You think about it for a few seconds, it’s frustrating, but then your teammates, they’re like, ‘Keep your head up, you’ll get the next one,’” Flinn said. “And then you just got to keep thinking positive and keep taking your chances. That’s what attacking players got to do.”
For the Hurricanes, who now sit at 4-2-1, this was their fifth shutout of the season despite the loss of standout goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo, who graduated last year.
Freshman Paula Forero Cabrera was in net against Idaho, but sophomore Emily Lillard, an Arkansas transfer, has been the primary player to fill the role.
“It’s a team thing, we team defend, it’s not just our goalkeeping, it’s not just our back line, but I feel like Vikki is irreplaceable,” Anagnost said of the change in the back. “She was not just our best player, [she was also] our most valuable player and she was an extraordinary leader … We made it, after she was gone, a significantly more competitive position and we have players battling it out every day. We’re successful defensively only when everyone defends and is willing to defend and that’s been something that we’ve stressed and coached, and that starts with our front, our forwards.”
Miami opens ACC play this week, facing Wake Forest and Duke, two teams that made the Final Four last year.
“I’m going to say that these [next] two opponents, last year they smashed us,” Anagnost said. “I mean, they just – at halftime the game was almost over already. So I’m anxious and I’m excited to see how this new group’s mentality will be once the whistle blows. I believe in our team and I have confidence in our team.”