The Miami Hurricanes soccer team won its fourth consecutive home match by beating the Louisville Cardinals 3-0 on Thursday night.
“I think they, collectively, played great tonight as a team,” Head Coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “We had a lot of energy and we followed the game plan. We had some players step up and do some really special things.”
The Canes (9-7-0, 4-4-0 ACC) jumped out to an early lead in the ninth minute when senior forward Gracie Lachowecki played a ball to junior midfielder Grace Rapp. Rapp sent a through ball past the Cardinals’ (7-5-4, 2-4-3 ACC) defense and found junior forward Ronnie Johnson, who put it in the bottom right corner past the keeper.
“I needed to focus on putting it in the corner to put it past the goalie,” Johnson said. “The whole team did a great job.”
The Hurricanes nearly doubled their lead when Lachowecki received a long ball and danced past a Cardinals defender, but Louisville goalkeeper Taylor Bucklin sent the ball over the crossbar.
Miami went into the intermission with a 1-0 advantage on the scoreboard despite the narrow margin of shots on goal (three for Miami and two for Louisville).
Coming out of the break, Miami put pressure on Louisville and had several chances to score but nothing to show for it in the goal column until the 81st minute.
Senior captain defender/midfielder Gianna Dal Pozzo sent a cross into the box that trickled out near the 18-yard line as Johnson corralled the ball and finished with her left foot for her second tally of the match.
“When it came to my finishing tonight, it just clicked and I knew where to place the ball when I was going to finish,” Johnson said.
Less than three minutes later, Lachowecki played a ball to sophomore midfielder Jamie Brunworth, who touch-passed the ball toward Johnson. Johnson curled it past the keeper for a hat trick and her seventh goal of the season.
“Ronnie had a fantastic night,” Monroe said. “I think she pulled off a great 90 minutes of play.”
Redshirt sophomore goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce and the Hurricanes defense notched their seventh shutout of the season.
“Our back line and our midfielders, even our attacking players, collectively as a defensive unit, I thought we did a great job,” Monroe said. “Louisville is very direct and they have some dangerous players out there, and we did a great job of winning the first ball and the second ball, then staying composed on the ball. So, I was very proud of that defensively.”
With the victory over Louisville, Miami climbs into seventh place in the ACC with hopes of making the conference postseason tournament, where only the top eight teams compete.
“The team has been really positive,” Johnson said. “Our goal is to make the ACC tournament and we’re so close to that goal. We’re going to come out and keep pushing really hard.”
The Hurricanes are currently hosting the No. 25-ranked Virginia Tech Hokies on senior day at Cobb Stadium as they look to continue climbing up the ACC standings.