DURHAM, N.C. -- Following a perfect run through their nonconference slate, the Miami Hurricanes will open ACC play with a trip to Koskinen Stadium for a Thursday night showdown with No. 14 Duke. Kickoff for the match, set to be aired live on NSCAATV.com, is set for 7 p.m.
The Hurricanes (5-0-0) enter conference competition looking to extend the program’s longest season-opening winning streak since 2008, when Miami began its campaign with seven straight victories.
“During preseason training, we stressed the importance of reaching our first goal – which was to finish 5-0 in the nonconference schedule,” head coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “They were successful in achieving that, and I know it’s given our team a lot of confidence heading into ACC play.”
Monroe and her staff expect the team’s mindset from the preseason to carry over into a grueling conference schedule, where seven opponents were listed in the most recent TopDrawerSoccer.com Top 25 rankings.
“We always talk about ‘competitive mentality’ during training,” Monroe said. “Those are two words we have used a ton. No matter where the ball is at, what we’re doing tactically, if we’re playing well or not, it’s about that mentality to win the ball and be gritty.”
The philosophy has already paid dividends for a Hurricanes offense connecting with rapid success. Miami’s offense has collected 15 goals in its first five matches, including a team-leading six by junior forward Ashley Flinn, and has scored multiple goals in each victory to date.
“A lot more players are starting to score goals now,” Monroe said. “Ashley is doing a great job of finishing her chances, and that’s going to be even more important in our conference games. You’re not going to get easy chances. When you do, you have to put them away.”
And despite two overtime victories, and another win salvaged by a 90th-minute strike from Flinn, Miami has emerged from its nonconference schedule with a singular focus.
“We’ve been emphasizing the importance of taking the schedule one game at a time,” Monroe said. “And even though we’re starting our ACC schedule, it’s important for them to still pay attention to the specific details. These are going to be the most competitive games of the year, and we have to be ready for them.”
Monroe expects her team to prove a worthy competitor when it takes the Koskinen Stadium pitch Thursday at 7 p.m., and again in Winston-Salem for Sunday’s matchup with No. 11 Wake Forest.
“We have to go in confident, play to our level and play to our capability,” she said. “That’s the most important thing. Why not go out and play these top teams? That’s why these coaches and players came to Miami. Every opponent is going to be a challenge. We have to come in prepared and ready to fight.”
Commentators for Thursday's match are Dean Linke and Sari Rose. To read the NSCAATV.com match preview and broadcast link, click HERE.