The University of Miami soccer team’s third match of the season ended in its second draw: a scoreless game against the Florida Atlantic University Owls on Thursday night in Boca Raton.
“Front to back, I thought we defended well,” Miami head coach Sarah Barnes said. “Every single person who came into the game gave us good moments. We can always get better, but there are a lot of positives to take away against an aggressive offensive team. For us, it’s about raising our level on the offensive end, getting more production.”
FAU (1-1-1), whom the Hurricanes (1-0-2) beat 1-0 a year ago, seemed like the better team. Its 10 shots to Miami’s seven do not indicate the number of chances the Owls had in the game.
However, Hurricanes goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais made six saves to shut out FAU. With another clean sheet, she still has not let up a goal this season, registering 20 saves in three matches.
“I went into the game trying build even more confidence after the first two clean sheets,” Dagenais said. “Our grittiness has really been making the difference, sacrificing our bodies in front of the ball to do whatever we can.”
The Hurricanes were prepared to defend FAU from the start of the match, as their lineup featured five defenders.
FAU controlled possession throughout much of the first half. It was able to knock the ball around with ease even though Miami constantly provided pressure.
This led to many counterattacks for the Owls, which yielded Miami’s biggest threats of the game. However, FAU could not take advantage of its chances, making mistakes at every opportunity it got. By halftime, Miami had four shots compared to the Owls’ three.
After halftime, the Canes looked rejuvenated. They were able to string more passes together and had some counter attacks of their own that yielded corners. A lot of the success came from playing through balls from midfield to the corners, where forwards were able to get to the ball before the defenders. Miami’s best chance to score was a shot on the right side of the six-yard box that was blocked.
However, FAU kept up with its attacking prowess. It created chances of its own, including one that ended with a shot from about 12 yards out that went over the goal. The Owls were able to beat one-on-one defense exceptionally well, especially on the wing. There were a couple of nutmegs that made the FAU crowd excited, and beating the Miami defenders on the wings led to crosses that created most of the Owls’ second half chances.
In the game of soccer, however, you are allowed to bend as long as you do not break. At the end of the day, the Hurricanes did not concede and are still unbeaten.
Next, Miami takes on the University of North Florida on Sunday at Cobb Stadium in Coral Gables. Kickoff is at 6:00 p.m.