What we have coined as the #PalmettoDerby took place Sunday. The University of Miami Hurricanes squared off against the Panthers of Florida International University in front of more than 600 people at FIU Soccer Stadium. Ten miles and two goals separated these two clubs in what was a great display of talent for local collegiate soccer.
Miami applied the pressure early and often throughout the match tallying nine shots and amassing four corners to their credit in the first half. FIU were able to apply pressure of their own at times through the half amassing four shots and three corners. None of the chances were converted for either squad as both teams went to bench tied at the half.
Unfortunately for the Panthers, they couldn’t keep the storm from brewing. Miami would get on the board first with a 56th minute goal from Ronnie Johnson. Johnson would finish a cross from Kristina Fisher and beat FIU’s Nevena Stojakovic one-on-one short side, her only conversion on eleven shots throughout the match.
Just as it seemed that Miami would not break the FIU defense for the rest of the match, Fisher opened her 2017 account by beating Stojakovic and the FIU defense. With a slashing run through the attacking zone and a classy cross body effort, Miami’s lead grew to two in the 88th minute. The game would end 2-0 and spoiled the season opener for FIU.
One could be forgiven for looking at the box score and thinking this game was a one-sided affair. With the Hurricanes amassing 25 shots (seven on target) it’s amazing to think the score line wasn’t more lopsided. Stojakovic produced seven saves for FIU throughout the contest and many of those were marvelous efforts. A 69th minute diving save and 81st minute parry led the highlight reel for FIU’s senior keeper.
Both teams head on the road as the Hurricanes head for a tour of the Northeast. FIU will head to New England and take on Dartmouth and Vermont before facing two Jacksonville based universities. There is no shortage of soccer in our magic city this fall. Please come on out and support both squads as they look for a place in the NCAA tournament.