Miami soccer’s defense stays hot in draw against Florida

Graduate student defender Taylor Shell dribbles the ball during Miami's match against Florida at Cobb Stadium on Aug. 24, 2023. Photo credit: Miami Athletics

On a beautiful Thursday night in Coral Gables, a packed Cobb Stadium watched a competitive 0-0 showdown between in-state rivals Miami and Florida.

The Hurricanes (1-0-2) and the Gators (2-0-1) entered the game unbeaten.

“It was a fast-paced and physical game,” Miami head coach Sarah Barnes said. “It threw some challenges that we haven’t quite seen yet. The biggest thing for us is continuing to improve on our ability to recognize what the opponent is giving us and execute at a higher level, so that we can be more dangerous on our attack. There were times where the recognition and execution got away from us, so that’s what our focus will be.”

To start the game, Florida came out with a burst of energy and controlled the pace, but the Hurricanes defense shined in response.

Florida had four first-half shots on goal, including a free kick from Florida midfielder Oakley Rasmussen, but nothing was getting past Miami goalkeeper Melissa Dagenais.

Right before halftime, play was suspended for 85 minutes due to lightning.

After the weather delay, the match continued similarly to the defensive clash of the first half.

Dagenais totaled two more stops in the second half and posted her second clean sheet in three matches so far.

“I worked really hard for two years to get my starting spot, so it’s definitely fun to attain a goal to hit a big milestone like that,” Dagenais said. “I take it day by day and aim to be the best goalkeeper in the ACC.”

With a strong start to the season, the Quebec native is starting to cement herself as a top goalie in the ACC. This performance against the Gators also marked her 10th career shutout at Miami.

The ‘Canes will face off against Georgia Southern on Sunday. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m.