It seemed like the dream start for Miami Hurricanes soccer on Thursday evening at the Music City Invitational in Nashville. Three minutes in, Gudrun Haralz worked past Vanderbilt goalkeeper Lauren Demarchi to put the Hurricanes up 1-0.
But a late capitulation to the Commodores left the Hurricanes down 2-1. A tight 1-0 victory over Lipscomb on Sunday was a nice consolation, but Miami Hurricanes soccer head coach Sarah Barnes and company must wonder what might have been.
The Thursday-night showdown against the Commodores offered the Hurricanes their toughest test yet of the young season. Vanderbilt was picked to finish ninth in the Southeastern Conference, but is a top-40 team in the NCAA’s RPI rankings and made a run to the second round of the NCAA Tournament in 2017.
“Obviously we were disappointed in the outcome,” Barnes told HurricaneSports.com after the game. “But for us, the focus has to be about process, and how we can get better from game to game.”
The Haralz goal was a tremendous individual effort by Haralz, though assisted by sophomore Michelle Giamportone, showing off the promise the Hurricanes have in her this season. It was her second goal in as many games played.
However, the late-game breakdown at the back will haunt the Hurricanes. The first goal conceded, in the 80th minute, was a total lapse, with a throw from Olivia Simmons came all the way across the box and found the head of Myra Konte. Hurricanes goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce was in position, but it slipped right through her fingers. Any bit of clearance would have disrupted the goal, and likely the comeback.
The second goal was a classic cross. It was Simmons again, this time using her foot to find Hayley Hopkins for the heartbreaker in the 88th minute.
“We are looking forward to taking a look at the film, getting out to practice and trying to sure some things up in an effort to come out and be better on Sunday against Lipscomb,” Barnes said.
A rebound performance
And better they were on Sunday. It took a while before Miami found its breakthrough, but in the 82st minute a goal fitting the effort found the back of the net. The Hurricanes were twice rejected, with Haralz hitting the post and Mallory Olsson striking a defender. But the third time was the charm, and junior Kristina Fisher finished off the attack and the game.
“The team continued to grind through the challenges and get a result, which is always great,” Barnes said after the match. “I think at this point, we are looking forward to getting back to Miami and being able to rest and recover.”
When Miami Hurricanes soccer returns to Coral Gables, it’ll be hosting UT Rio Grande Valley at Cobb Stadium on Thursday night at 7 p.m. UCF comes to visit on Sunday at 6 p.m.