Behind a goal and an assist from sophomore midfielder Kristina Fisher, the Hurricanes shut out crosstown rival FIU 2-0 Sunday night. It was the first time the two teams had faced off at FIU Soccer Stadium since 2007.
Coming out of the break with the game scoreless, the Hurricanes made a pivotal, tactical change that proved to pay dividends.
“We wanted to come out in the second half and put the battle on them,” Fisher said. “We wanted to apply pressure and win the 50-50 balls to try to gain the edge.”
During the 57 minute, Fisher crossed a ball just outside the six-yard box to senior forward Ronnie Johnson, who poked the ball past FIU goalie Nevena Stojakovic to put the Canes ahead 1-0.
“Kristina’s vision of the game is just so great, and she’s very selfless,” head coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “She saw Ronnie wide open – she knew that Ronnie scores goals, and she played a wonderful ball to her.”
Fisher doubled the Hurricanes’ tally during the 88th minute, when she dribbled towards the goal, cut back and rifled one past the keeper.
Miami finished the match with a 25-7 advantage in shots, including a nine-to-three differential in shots on goal.
The Canes (2-0-0) controlled play from start to finish, and capitalized twice in the second half in a physical contest that had 30 combined fouls.
“I was really proud of our team in the second half,” Monroe said. “It was a really physical game, and we found a way to be a little bit smarter and not get that in our heads – do what we do best and score some goals.”
FIU (0-1-0) had an early chance in the 10th minute when forward Bria Williams ripped a shot on goal, but redshirt junior goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce soared to knock Williams’ attempt over the bar.
Miami generated a variety of opportunities in the first frame, totaling nine shots, but none were able to find the back of the net. Most notably, in the 31st minute, Johnson fired a shot from just outside the six-yard box that ricocheted wide off an FIU defender.
The victory had extra significance for the Canes’ returning players, recovering from a 1-0 loss to the Panthers last season at Cobb Stadium.
“This game was all about revenge from last year,” Johnson said. “In my mind, that game kept us from the NCAA Tournament. Coming in today, we wanted to really get this win to prove that we deserved to get in last year.”
The Hurricanes will continue their road slate with a trip to Ohio, where they will meet at 4 p.m. on Friday to play up against Miami University (OH).