Canes squeak past Eagles, continue best start in program history

Paulette Ricks-Chambers chases the ball down against Eastern Michigan. Photo by Steve Root // Hurricane Staff.

Through six games, the women’s soccer team faced little trouble en route to a flawless record.

On Friday night at Cobb Stadium, Eastern Michigan played Miami, clad in orange for the first time this season, to a scoreless tie at halftime.

In the 77th minute, sophomore midfielder Lauren Singer ripped the game winner with a shot, from outside the box, that deflected off a defender and soared over the diving goalie’s fingers for a 1-0 victory.

“I think we just really realized we needed to get a really good tackle to get us going, a good goal, a good pass, and really just step up our level,” Singer said. “We were playing at their level, and in the second half, we definitely stepped it up to ours.”

The Hurricanes (7-0-0) had their share of scoring chances with six corner kicks in the first half and a 24-2 shot advantage against the Eagles (2-2-2).

“I think sometimes you have those nights,” associate head coach Jeff Freeman said. “There’s no doubt that in the first half we had probably the best opportunities of the game. I think it’s a matter of just being more composed in the box.”

After the Canes took the lead, the Eagle offense began to put some pressure on the Cane defense and the game turned into a grueling physical battle.

Miami was called for 19 fouls, including a yellow card to senior defender and captain Corynn Carino.

“The game was very physical, especially in the second half when it got pretty crazy to finish out the game,” Carino said. “I think we really stepped it up. The whole team was winning every 50/50 ball [and] every tackle, and everyone was giving 110 percent until the very end.”

Freshman goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo tallied her sixth shutout in seven games, while recording only one save.

It wasn’t all good news, however, as senior forward Rachael Rigamat, who had been fighting through a leg injury for the past three games, left after 21 minutes and failed to return. She is listed as day-to-day.

Sophomore forward Brittney Steinbruch failed to score a goal in a game for the first time this season, despite taking eight shots.

“I thought it was a great effort by our team, on both sides of the ball,” Freeman said. “Defensively, they kept Eastern Michigan out of our end and offensively they just pushed and pushed.”

Miami hosts Brigham Young University (4-4) at 7 p.m. Tuesday night as the team tries to extend its winning streak to eight before heading on the road to face top-ranked UCLA (5-0) on Friday night.

“I couldn’t be more proud of our team,” Freeman said. “I’m really excited for what the future holds. BYU is a great team, so we certainly expect them to come and give us a good game, but I expect our kids to be rested and ready to go as well.”