@CanesFutbol Building Early Momentum
MILWAUKEE -- The University of Miami women's soccer team will travel to Wisconsin-Milwaukee this weekend looking to maintain its perfect start to the season. Kickoff for Sunday's non-conference matchup against the Panthers is set for 7 p.m. Click here for a live video stream.
Under first-year head coach Mary-Frances Monroe, the Hurricanes (2-0-0) have opened the regular season with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2008.
"We're starting to get into a nice routine," she said. "It's good now that we have to get used to incorporating classes, studying, and being a real student-athlete into our regular schedule. Training went great this week - they're focused, they're ready, and they can't wait to get back on the field."
Two players who have done an impressive job of adapting in the early have been forwards Jasmine Paterson and Ashley Flinn. Paterson has already equaled her output from the 2012 season with two goals through two games, while Flinn is just one goal shy of the feat after a brace in last Sunday's 3-2 overtime win over Jacksonville.
"We're in a good place - we talk and communicate a lot to our forwards about how important they are to both the attacking and defensive side of the game," Monroe said. "They know the idea, they have great vision of what our goals are, and they want to accomplish them."
In addition to the early emergence of Flinn and Paterson in the opposing end, Monroe points to the leadership of seniors Tara Schwitter and Blake Stockton as pivotal to the team's flawless start.
"Tara has pleasantly surprised me with her energy on the field. She doesnt talk a ton, but she does the right thing. She is the engine to the team in the midfield, in both aspects of the game," the head coach said. "Blake has a strong personality and does a very good job of keeping the team focused. When we need her to say something in training, the team listens to her."
When asked of the potential for molding future leaders, Monroe doesn't hesitate to mention junior midfielder Erin McGovern and sophomore defender Shannon McCarthy as two players who the fit the bill.
"Down the road, Erin and Shannon will serve a crucial role for us," she said. "So while they might not be captains now, they are two players we will look to soon as role models for the rest of our team."
With the Hurricanes' grueling conference schedule looming, Sunday's match against the winless Panthers (0-3-0) is another opportunity to cement a "Starting XI" ahead of its ACC opener Sept. 12.
"There are a few small things we told them to focus on," she said. "On the defensive end, we have to play as a team and work together as a team I talked to them a lot about having a professional mentality - the little things matter. Plugging in, being focused, and doing the right thing."
As for an offense that has combined for five goals through its first two games?
"Whenever we have a chance in the 18-yard box, we really need to finish," Monroe said. "We're holding a lot more players more accountable now, and when it's not good enough, they know it."