Miami falls in first NCAA Play-In game
The Miami University field hockey team (12-10, 4-1 Mid-American Conference (MAC)) finished their season Tuesday with a 4-1 loss to 11th-ranked Stanford University in a NCAA Play-In game with an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament on the line. This was Miami's first ever appearance in a Play-In game, which it earned by winning its first MAC Tournament title in school history.
The game had a frantic start, with Stanford forcing junior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller to make a nice save in the third minute to keep the game scoreless. The RedHawks got their first shot in the fourth minute, and earned a penalty corner on the play. Sophomore midfielder Ali Froede had a shot saved off of the corner, but the rebound went right to senior midfielder Olivia Miller, who put the ball in the net to give Miami a 1-0 lead. The RedHawks earned another penalty corner in the seventh minute, but weren't able to add to their lead.
"There's no doubt in any of our minds that we could win this game," Froede said.
Stanford would answer in the eighth minute, when the Cardinal earned a penalty corner off of a save by Mueller. Senior forward Emily Henriksson scored off of a pass from senior back Becky Dru to even the score at 1-1. The teams exchanged several shots over the next twenty minutes, with Miami earning another penalty corner in the 27th minute. Miller got off another shot on the corner, but it was blocked by the Cardinal defense. Stanford earned a penalty corner of its own and Dru had a shot saved by Mueller in an attempt to keep the game tied. However, the Cardinal were awarded a penalty stroke and Dru put it home to give Stanford their first lead of the game at 2-1. Junior forward Hope Burke added to Stanford's lead just over a minute later with a breakaway goal to make it 3-1. Stanford would make it 4-1 in the 35th minute off of a penalty corner, as Dru found Burke for her second goal of the game.
The pace of the game slowed down in the second half, with Miami getting their best chance to score in the second half in the 42nd minute. The RedHawks earned three straight penalty corners, with Froede and freshman midfielder Bea Dechant recording shots, but freshman goalkeeper Dulcie Davies kept Miami from adding another goal. Mueller added seven saves in the second half to keep Stanford from adding to their lead, but the RedHawks only had four shots total in the second half. Stanford outshot Miami 19-11, but the RedHawks had a 7-6 advantage in penalty corners. Mueller finished with 13 saves on the game, her second most of the season.
"We're all pretty disappointed, it obviously wasn't the result we wanted," Froede said. "We definitely had a possibility to win, we just let a few chances get away from us."
Despite the loss, this was a historic season for the RedHawks. They won their second MAC regular-season title in the past three seasons, in addition to winning the first MAC Tournament in program history.
"We have a lot to look back on and be proud of this season," Froede said. "I don't think we could have asked for anything more."
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