BOCA RATON, Fla. -- Junior forward Ashley Flinn tallied her sixth goal of the season with just 40 seconds remaining in regulation, and the University of Miami women’s soccer team extended its flawless start with a 2-1 victory over host Florida Atlantic Sunday.
On an overcast afternoon that saw two lengthy weather delays, Miami (5-0-0) needed another heroic performance to complete its nonconference schedule to perfection. Flinn, who entered the match with two game-winning goals in the team’s first four victories, stepped up to deliver her fourth goal of the weekend and third winner this season.
Flinn received some help from sophomore Jasmine Paterson, who handled a long pass well and flicked the ball through the defense towards her fellow striker. The Romeo, Mich., native sent Miami to its fifth straight win with a terrific finish.
“Before the game, she and I talked about a few things she needed to focus on to be successful,” head coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “She should have had a couple of goals on chances in the first half, but she came right back at it in the second half.”
Miami had built early momentum before a rain delay roughly 15 minutes before halftime shut the match down. The contest was scoreless heading into the break, despite the Hurricanes' advantages.
“I’m proud of the team,” Monroe said. “It’s not always easy when you have a rain delay after building some early flow. During the delay, we talked to the team about coming back and playing with the same energy and fire. That was a big test.”
Four minutes into the second half, Miami jumped out to a 1-0 lead on the foot of junior Erin McGovern’s first career goal. On a well-struck corner from junior Tara Schwitter, McGovern’s shot found its way into the top right corner past Owls keeper Courtney Zwetsch, giving the Hurricanes their first lead of the match.
Freshman Gracie Lachowecki, who scored her first career goal in Friday’s 6-1 rout of Cleveland State, earned her first career assist on the play.
“Gracie has built a lot of confidence after Friday’s game, and earned the chance to start today,” Monroe said. “She’s going to make freshman mistakes, but she’s playing with more enthusiasm and confidence. She helped our entire front line today, and really created opportunities for other players.”
McGovern’s strike continued an impressive trend for the Hurricanes, who have yet to trail in a match this season.
The visitors dominated the run of play for the remainder of the match, besting FAU in shots (20-13) and corner kicks (11-2) while forcing Zwetsch into eight saves. Miami carried the lead deep into the second half, but a rare lapse on an own goal in the 79th minute leveled the score late.
Miami successfully avoided overtime with help from Flinn, who has developed a penchant for dramatics. The Romeo, Mich., native scored an overtime winner against Jacksonville and also delivered the eventual winner against Cleveland State.
“I think this win shows a lot,” Monroe said. “Even when schedule things aren’t going our way, we’re still competing and doing the right thing. I give FAU a lot of credit for defending us well.”
Miami clinched a perfect 5-0 record through its nonconference schedule, and will open ACC play with matchups against No. 13 Duke (Thursday) and No. 11 Wake Forest (Sunday) this weekend.
Monroe said that the lessons learned from the team’s first five matches will provide a blueprint heading into a grueling conference slate.
“We talked to our team about their goals for the season, and one of them was to go 5-0 in nonconference,” Monroe said. “As a coaching staff, we harped on the importance of taking everything on a game-by-game basis, and that’s exactly what they did. Instead of looking ahead, you have to prove yourself in each and every game.”
Kickoff for Thursday’s game against the Blue Devils is set for 7 p.m.