Miami comes up short in ACC games

After opening up its season with five nonconference victories, the Miami women’s soccer team started its ACC slate with a couple of tough losses.

The Hurricanes traveled up to North Carolina for a two-game road trip to take on No. 14 Duke Thursday, followed by No. 7 Wake Forest Sunday.

After playing Duke to a scoreless tie through one half of play, the Blue Devils put home a trio of goals in the second half and won 3-0 at Koskinen Stadium.

Miami had its chances in the game, including a first-half penalty from senior defender Tara Schwitter that was saved by Duke goalkeeper Ali Kershner.

UM also had a goal by senior defender Blake Stockton disallowed late in the second half on an offside call.

Toni Payne, Kaitlyn Kerr and Kelly Cobb scored Duke’s goals, all three coming in a stretch of 30 minutes.

As for Wake Forest, the Demon Deacons jumped on the Hurricanes early, scoring in just the third minute of the match at Spry Stadium Sunday afternoon.

Ultimately that would have been enough for the victory, but the Demon Deacons did add on two more goals in the first half and another after the break, winning 4-0.

“In this league, you need to finish your chances and be dangerous continuously throughout the game,” Canes’ coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “We were unlucky not to finish on those opportunities today.”

Riley Ridgik had two of Wake Forest’s goals, while Katie Stengel and Ally Berry each chipped in one of their own. All four goals came in the game’s first 52 minutes.

Prior to these two games, Miami had not had back-to-back shutout losses since Oct. 15 and Oct. 18 of 2009, also against Duke and Wake Forest respectively.

“As a collective group, we needed to work harder today,” Monroe said after Sunday’s loss. “There were times of good soccer, but when you go down a goal to a good Wake Forest team in the first five minutes, it makes it hard to bounce back.”

With its first ACC road trip in the books, Miami (5-0-2, 0-2 ACC) now has six of its next eight games at home at Cobb Stadium.

The Hurricanes will first face North Carolina State at 7 p.m. Thursday.

The Wolfpack (6-2, 1-1 ACC) enters the game coming off their first ACC victory in nearly two years, defeating Pittsburgh 1-0 Sunday.

N.C. State went 0-10 in conference play last year and is under the direction of a first-year head coach in Tim Santoro.

The Hurricanes won 2-0 at N.C. State last year, and the teams tied 1-1 in their last meeting in Coral Gables back in 2011.

Miami has not lost to the Wolfpack since 2006, going 4-0-2 in the past six years. Three of the wins in that stretch came by a single goal.

Monroe was pleased with the play of her goalkeepers, but said the rest of the Canes were out of sync this past weekend.

“Blake [Stockton] and Maddie [Simms] did their jobs today and were successful,” Monroe said Sunday. “We need to get the entire team on the same page. We’re looking forward to our next two games and are excited to play in front of our home crowd again.”