Fisher Leads Soccer to 2-0 Win at FIU
By Alex Schwartz
MIAMI – The University of Miami soccer team picked up a victory against its crosstown foe Sunday night, notching a 2-0 decision at FIU in its first road match of the regular season.
Miami (2-0-0) dominated play for the majority of the evening and used a pair of second-half goals to record the win at FIU Soccer Stadium in its first contest against the Panthers away from Cobb Stadium since 2007.
“I was really proud of our team in the second half. We came out and started to play the way we know how to play,” Miami head coach Mary-Frances Monroe said. “It was a really physical game and we found a way to be a little bit smarter and not get that in our heads, do what we do best and score some goals.”
After facing no shots on goal in the season opener, goalkeeper Phallon Tullis-Joyce made the first save of the season in the 10th minute. The redshirt junior impressively leapt to knock a quality shot by FIU (0-1-0) sophomore forward Bria Williams over the bar.
The Hurricanes had multiple chances in the first half, but the Panthers’ back line managed to hold strong and blocked away several shots headed towards the net. Senior forward Ronnie Johnson, senior forward/midfielder Grace Rapp and sophomore midfielder Lauren Markwith all had quality opportunities.
Despite Miami controlling possession for much of the opening 45 minutes, the match remained scoreless at the intermission.
Early in the second half, the Hurricanes got on the board and, just like the season opener, it was Johnson finishing off a pass from sophomore midfielder Kristina Fisher for the team’s first goal.
Fisher crossed the ball just outside the six-yard box, where Johnson was alone with FIU senior goalkeeper Nevena Stojakovic. The Oakville, Ont., native calmly settled it and tapped the ball into the back of the net to put Miami ahead in the 57th minute.
The goal was Johnson’s third of the young season, while it marked the fourth assist already for Fisher, who was the lone ACC player with three assists on opening night this past Friday. It was also the 10th assist of her career, moving her into a six-way tie for No. 10 all-time at Miami.
“Kristina’s vision of the game is just so great and she’s very selfless,” Monroe said. “She saw Ronnie wide open, she knew that Ronnie scores goals and she played a wonderful ball to her. Then, Ronnie took it from there.”
Johnson nearly added to her ledger in the 69th minute, but Stojakovic made a spectacular save, diving to her right to keep the Panthers within one.
Stojakovic was again up to the task in the 81st minute, denying sophomore forward Dejah Cason’s close-range attempt off a cross from sophomore defender Madison Louk.
Fisher doubled the Hurricanes’ lead in the 88th minute on an impressive individual effort. The Jupiter, Fla., native tallied her first goal of the year, as she dribbled towards the goal, cut to the right and sent the ball back towards the left to make it 2-0.
“She deserved that goal. She was all over the field today,” Monroe said. “I wish I knew how many miles she ran in this game. She was lights-out and she never stopped. There’s a reason why she is one of our most dynamic players. She has the engine, she’s very, very talented and she’s finally figuring out how to be successful on the field.”
Miami finished the match with a 25-7 edge in shot attempts, including a 16-3 advantage in the second half. The Hurricanes also had nine shots on goal and conceded only three, as well committed just nine fouls, compared to FIU’s 21.
With the victory, Miami moved to 8-4-1 all-time against the Panthers, including 6-1-1 since 2002. Additionally, Sunday marked the fifth time the Hurricanes have blanked FIU.
This is the second consecutive season Miami has started by posting back-to-back shutout victories.
Tullis-Joyce logged the 11th shutout of her career to take sole possession of fifth place all-time among Hurricanes. Additionally, Johnson moved into a tie for sixth in career game-winning goals with five and jumped into ninth place on the shots leaderboard with 108.
Up next for the Hurricanes is a trip to the Buckeye State for a pair of matches, the first of which comes Friday at 4 p.m., against Miami (OH) at Miami Soccer Field in Oxford, Ohio.