In their Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) opening game, the University of Miami women’s soccer team fell short to the Louisville Cardinals, 1-0, on Saturday night in Louisville, Ky.
“We fought hard and competed for 90 minutes,” Miami head coach Sarah Barnes said. “We have to better prepare them to better recognize what the defense is throwing at us, so we can be more dangerous in the attack, have the ball more and continue to improve on execution. We have some things we have to continue to work on to be where we want to be.”
Although the team faced a tough loss, goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais had an impressive night in net, posting eight saves, but the ‘Canes (3-2-2, 0-1 ACC) were unable to capitalize and score.
After a back-and-forth first half resulting in no goals, the Cardinals (4-1-2, 1-0 ACC) found their rhythm in the 63rd minute. From a corner kick, Louisville midfielder/forward Maisie Whitsett hit a free ball into the corner of Miami’s goal.
Louisville remained consistent throughout the second half in their scoring attempts; however, they were no match for Dagenais and her incredible saves.
“Mel has been so consistent in goal and made a lot of great saves,” Barnes said. “It gives the team confidence to be able to go out and play and compete. When a mistake is made or there’s an error, Mel is there to have their backs. We can be in any game with Mel.”
In the 77th minute of the game, freshman midfielder Lizzie Sexton launched a rocket at Miami’s net, but Dagenais replied with a huge block, sending Sexton’s shot above the crossbar.
The long-fought battle between the ‘Canes and the Cardinals was very fierce. Miami and Louisville combined for 28 fouls, three of which were yellow cards in a very physical encounter.
The Cardinals posed a huge challenge for the Hurricanes and although Miami came up short in the end, it plans on using this as fuel to come back stronger for their next game.
“Sports require you to have an unwavering belief in your ability,” Barnes said. “It requires you to have relentless resilience to work towards accomplishing long-term goals you set for yourself. There’s work to do and we have a whole conference season ahead of us. At this stage, we’re looking at how to improve and be ready for the next challenge.”
The Hurricanes continue their four-match road trip, now traveling to Pittsburgh, Pa. to face the Panthers. The Thursday game will take place at 7 p.m. at Ambrose Urbanic Field.