Field hockey wins MAC home opener
Published: Monday, October 8, 2012
Updated: Monday, October 8, 2012 23:10
The Miami University field hockey team (7-8, 2-1 Mid-American Conference (MAC)) won its MAC home opener Saturday, defeating Kent State University 4-1. The RedHawks dropped a non-conference game 1-0 Sunday against Indiana University for their first home loss of the season.
“This weekend was about creating momentum,” sophomore midfielder Ali Froede said. “We most likely have to win the rest of our MAC games to get a good seed for the tournament.”
Miami controlled play early against Kent State, getting the first several shots on goal. However, Kent State took 1-0 lead in the 26th minute after junior midfielder Rebecca Lee sent a pass into the circle that missed its target and bounced off a RedHawk defender for an own goal.
“It was a stupid goal, but it was almost good because it kind of lit a fire under us,” junior forward Emily Gruesser said.
The RedHawks answered five minutes later, as Gruesser scored off an assist from senior midfielder Olivia Miller to even the score 1-1. Sophomore forward Valentina Neira gave Miami a 2-1 lead in the 44th minute, and freshman midfielder Bea Dechant added to the lead in the 52nd minute..
Miami scored its fourth goal in the 69th minute, as Neira stole the ball from a desperate Kent State offense to finish off the scoring.
The RedHawks outshot the Golden Flashes 18-8 and had an 8-4 advantage in penalty corners. Junior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller finished with five saves for Miami.
“Making statements is what we’re looking to do throughout the season, and this was a big statement to the other MAC teams that we’re a strong team and they can’t take us lightly,” Gruesser said.
Both Indiana and Miami struggled early Sunday.
Dechant took the first two shots of the game, but fired one wide in the 7th minute and had a shot saved by graduate student goalkeeper Viki Green in the 10th minute. Indiana responded with four shots on goal in the first half, but Mueller turned them all aside. Miami’s best chance of the first half came in the 30th minute, when sophomore midfielder Chrissy Zessin took the ball deep into the circle but was unable to poke it under Green.
The Hoosiers broke the scoreless tie in the 43rd minute, as senior forward Morgan Fleetwood broke free and scored a goal from the right side to make the score 1-0. The RedHawks had a golden opportunity to respond in the 52nd minute off a Logan shot from the right side. Green made the save but Miami was awarded a penalty corner. Gruesser’s corner shot was then blocked by the Indiana defense.
The RedHawks kept the offensive pressure up the rest of the game, and were awarded one last penalty corner in the final minute. Froede got a shot on goal off the corner, but Green made another save to clinch the victory for the Hoosiers.
“We just needed to finish some shots and get hungry to score,” Froede said.
The RedHawks return to action 5 p.m. Friday when they host non-conference foe Appalachian State University.