Clean sheet highlights strong start to Raven-Spartan Classic

Clean sheet highlights strong start to Raven-Spartan Classic

NORTH MANCHESTER, IND. – Freshman goalkeeper Cami Holford (Valparaiso, Ind.) couldn't have been happier to contribute to Manchester University's 2015 MU-Anderson University Raven-Spartan Classic opening match victory Saturday, Sept. 12.

In the wake of a 27-16 shots advantage by the visiting Student Princesses of Heidelberg University of Ohio that saw her garner 13 saves, Holford knew she and her teammates had been in a battle at Spartan Soccer Field.

"It feels great to be able to do this," she said of her first collegiate shutout that helped lift the Black and Gold to a 2-0 win in their home opener. "I'm hoping this is a sign of good things to come not only for myself but for the team.

"We had been talking about defensive form recently and that communication is key to that," she added. "It had to happen in the back, and it did today."

"This should be a big confidence boost (for Holford)," Coach Andy Stout said. "She made so many big saves. (Heidelberg) had attempts that really came into the box strong including one that had to be sent over the top. She did a really good job."

While MU's keeper kept several strong Heidelberg shot attempts out of the home net, the Spartans' offense got untracked on the scoreboard behind the play of freshman midfielder/forward Maranda Birmingham (Kouts, Ind.) and sophomore midfielder Courtney Hersick (Plymouth, Ind.). Birmingham, firing a co-team high three shots with two going at the Student Princesses' net, had one find the back in the 36th minute, while Hersick added the second tally early in the final 45 minutes. Hersick's two shot efforts joined Birmingham, sophomore defender Jaclyn Scialdone (Noblesville, Ind.), Birmingham and freshman midfielder/forward Mariam Aly (Giza, Egypt) in compiling multiple attempts.

"This whole week has been about us trying to get our crossing and the coinciding finishing right," Stout noted. "I had told the team when I was watching film that certain people needed to be at certain areas on the field in those situations. There needs to be a strong commitment towards wanting to convert on chances in the box, and we saw more of that today."

The Black and Gold wraps up play in the Raven-Spartan Classic Sunday, Sept. 13, hosting Kenyon College of Ohio at 3 p.m. at SSF.