Canes look to finish regular season strong, snap skid

So long to the winless streak.

The University of Miami women’s soccer team defeated the host Clemson Tigers 1-0 in double overtime last Thursday night to snap an eight-game winless streak that dated back to Sept. 16.

Freshman forward Julianne Rickers scored the lone goal in the 106th minute, as the Hurricanes (8-6-2, 1-4-1) earned their first ACC victory.

“It felt good,” Rickers said. “Our team was focused the whole time and outshot and outplayed them. The game really turned everything around with our intensity and focus.”

The game-winning score marked the second collegiate goal for the Leesburg, Va., native. It came on a pass from sophomore midfielder Lauren Singer. The shot sailed left past the diving keeper from 15 yards out.

Singer led the team with seven shots, as she and junior midfielder Jessica Wyble each recorded four on goal.

On the night, the Canes outshot the Tigers 22-19 and forced sophomore goalie Paula Pritzen to make 13 saves.

Freshman goalkeeper Vikki Alonzo had to make only three saves to earn her eighth shutout of the season and extend her school record. Her last shutout occurred on Sept. 21 against San Diego in a 0-0 double-overtime road match.

“Overall, every player that came on had some great chances that we created to get the win,” head coach Tricia Taliaferro said. “We played really well and we really earned it today. We were focused and disciplined.”

Sophomore Brittney Steinbruch, the team leader in goals with eight, didn’t play for the fifth straight game due to an injury. She last saw action when the Hurricanes played ACC rival Virginia Tech to a 1-1 double-overtime tie at home.

Times have been tough for the Canes since beating Eastern Michigan in a close 1-0 match on Sept. 12. Four days later, Brigham Young handed the Hurricanes, who were riding a seven-game winning streak, their first loss of the season in a 1-0 non-conference affair.

Miami hosts the ninth-ranked Duke Blue Devils at 7 p.m. Thursday and the 16th-ranked Wake Forest Demon Deacons at 1 p.m. Sunday in its final home matches. Both games will be played at Cobb Stadium.

There are also two away games left in the regular season before the ACC tournament.

“We’re still banged up, but we’ve had all week,” Taliaferro said. “With the experiences we’ve had, it’s made us better. It shows a lot of character and it got us over the edge to play with more grit and will.”