Canes come out strong in season opener

Different coach, same results.

The Miami women’s soccer team finished its first regular season match under new coach Mary-Frances Monroe just as it did more than half its games last year – with a shutout.

The Hurricanes scored a goal in each half to earn a 2-0 victory over Cincinnati Friday night at Cobb Stadium.

“The atmosphere was great, and we’ve been preparing for this for a while now, so we just couldn’t wait to get on the field and finally play,” said Monroe, formerly the head coach at Albany.

Miami (1-0), which split its two preseason exhibitions, had several chances in the first 10 minutes that were not converted. Meanwhile, it took Cincinnati (0-1) more than 15 minutes to record a shot on goal.

The Canes broke through in the 26th minute when sophomore forward Jasmine Peterson sent a strike from the left side of the box into the far side of the goal.

“Jasmine’s a very special player, and when she gets the opportunity to go one versus one, she’ll definitely dominate,” Monroe said. “She just has to get that encouragement to actually take a shot, and obviously when she does, she’ll score some goals.”

Senior midfielder Tara Schwitter had a goal disallowed in the 38th minute on an offside call, and junior goalkeeper Emily Lillard made a tremendous diving save on a deflected ball in the closing seconds of the first half to keep it 1-0 at the break.

In the second session, Cincinnati had more control of the game and quite a few good opportunities in the first 15 minutes. On three occasions, the Bearcats coaches called for the referee to award a penalty kick, but none were granted and the Miami defense held strong.

UM had just one shot on goal in the second half, but made the most of it. Sophomore midfielder Paige Lombard scored off a touch near the goal line in the 83rd minute, giving Miami some insurance.

Schwitter was credited with the assist. She played the ball back toward the net after it trickled out following Miami’s lone corner kick of the match.

“I just saw it bouncing out and tried to slip it in there with my right foot, and Paige did a great job coming from the top of the 18 and fought the goalie off,” Schwitter said. “It was just determination and who wanted it more.”

Monroe was pleased with her team’s performance in the season opener.

“I think second half we just needed to settle down a little bit,” Monroe said. “But I’m proud of them, even though it was a little hectic, that they were able to get a second goal in the second half.”