A controversial goal in double overtime spelled doom for the Eastern Michigan University soccer team, as they were bested by the Miami University RedHawks 1-0 at Scicluna Field. Miami senior midfielder Kayla Zakrzewski found the net with 1:18 remaining in the second overtime to give them the victory.
EMU (7-6-1, 4-2-0 Mid-American Conference) outshot Miami (6-6-2, 3-1-2 MAC) 20-11 in total shots, but they were unable to get one past the RedHawks goalkeeper, senior Allison Norenberg, who stopped all six shots sent her way. EMU sophomore goalkeeper Megan McCabe played equally as well, making three saves, only allowing the one goal. On offense, EMU was lead by junior forward Angela Vultaggio, who recorded six total shots, two on target.
“You have to take care of the little things, and one mistake cost us a game,” EMU head coach Scott Hall said. “Now we have to nitpick and be harder on each other to make sure that we don’t make those little mistakes, especially late in games.”
Miami started with a quick attack and earned a corner kick in the second minute. The EMU defense, however, snuffed out the chance on a counterattack. The counter didn’t lead to a goal, but did swing the momentum into EMU’s favor, as the Eagles’ attack controlled the play for the next 20 minutes.
The RedHawks defense was stout in its play and stifled the Eagles pressure, converting its defensive play into quality offense of its own. In the 36th minute, sophomore forward Haley Walter let go off a shot that nearly broke the scoreless tie, but caromed off of the crossbar and out of play.
Miami rode the newfound momentum into another dangerous try, this time from senior midfielder Katy Dolesh in 41st minute, but McCabe was there to make the save and end the RedHawks rally.
The Eagles would get the final chance of the first half, when senior midfielder Cara Cutaia let a shot fly right before intermission, but Norenberg made the save and the game went to the break tied at zero.
The ebb and flow of the first half continued into the second half, as both teams swapped possession and opportunity. EMU was the early aggressors, unleashing five shots in the first 10 minutes of the second half. However, only one— a Vultaggio shot in the 52nd minute, found its way onto net and was stopped by Norenberg.
In the 65th, Dolesh fired a shot wide and proved to be the last opportunity the RedHawks would get in the half, as EMU owned the possession and the opportunities. The Eagles offense could only muster up three shots down the stretch, including one by Vultaggio that was stopped by Norenberg, and the second half ended scoreless, sending the game into overtime.
Two minutes into the first overtime session, EMU got the first chance as. senior midfielder Stephanie Clarke sent a looping ball toward the back post on a corner kick. Junior defenseman Emily Dzik made solid contact on the ball with her head, but Norenberg was there to make the save.
EMU nearly ended the game again in the 99th minute, when junior midfielder Martha Stevens had a crack at trying to beat Norenberg with a shot. But the goalkeeper continued her stellar performance with another save and the game was sent into a second overtime.
Miami earned the first opportunity in the second overtime session, when Zakrzewski forced McCabe into a routine save, but it was the Eagles who missed ending the game by inches. In the 107th minute, Vultaggio hit fellow junior forward Bianca Rossi with a pass as she was streaking passed the RedHawks defense. Rossi had a scoring opportunity on Norenberg, but her shot missed the goal and the game continued.
Two minutes later, the game ended in a very bizarre fashion.
Miami junior midfielder Kelsey Dinges sent a cross in front of the right side that appeared to go out of bounds before she was able to cross the ball into the Eastern box. The ball was tapped into the open Eastern goal by Zakrzewski, but players from both teams stood motionless on the field, thinking that Eastern had been given the goal kick. The assistant referee motioned to the head official and, after much deliberation, the goal was allowed, as the assistant referee said that the ball never traveled out of bounds. Miami players then swarmed the field, having been awarded the 1-0 victory.
“We didn’t take care of it when we needed to,” McCabe said. “At the end of the day, it’s still our fault. The results are going to come, but we just need to push harder and expect more of ourselves because it’s not good enough right now.”
This was the fourth overtime game of the season for Eastern and the first since Aug. 30 against the University of Michigan. The team is 0-3-1 in overtime games this year.
The Eagles will travel to Athens, Ohio to take on the Ohio University Bobcats on Friday, Oct. 16 before traveling to Kent State on Oct. 20.
Follow Josh on Twitter: @JdyeEMUEagles.