’Hawks prepare for pair of ranked teams
Published: Thursday, September 12, 2013
Updated: Thursday, September 12, 2013 23:09
The Miami University field hockey team will participate in the Terp Invitation this weekend, where the ’Hawks will continue to play the ranked teams. American University ranks 20th and host school the University of Maryland University ranks second, according to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association.
“They are challenging games, but they are just making us better and forcing us to play better hockey,” head coach Inako Puzo said. “I’m expecting these teams are very well organized, disciplined and well coached, so we have to bring more than just physicality to this weekend, we need a good game plan and discipline,”
Miami holds a 2-3 record, as it has competed against other top ranked schools such as Wake Forest University, Boston University and Northwestern University.
Junior back Ali Froede said she feels the RedHawks have been able to hold their ground against these teams.
“I think a big thing that we have learned from this past weekend, was that we need to play to win not just to be competitive and have a good performance,” Froede said. “It’s something very positive as we are making the right adjustments to become more of a threat inside the circle.
Maryland remains undefeated after four games and American is 3-1 on the season.
“I don’t think the rankings bother any of us at this point, the challenge really excites and pumps me up,” Froede said. “If you told me two years ago that Maryland was on our schedule, I think it would have scared all of us, but we are at the point now that we are confident in our program and confident in our team that we have the skills and capability to compete and beat these high ranked teams.”
Puzo said the ball speed is faster than usual, so he feels the ’Hawks have to be structured on defense and their press in order to cut off the passes and deny passing lanes.
“I approach Maryland as I approach any other team, each one’s going to be different and present different challenges, but in the end it’s a game of hockey and we have to go out and play our best,” Puzo said. “We have a lot of respect for their tradition and their hockey, but we still approach the game by working hard being intense and focused.
Senior back Jordan Long was named Mid-American Conference Defensive Player of the Week for her performances against Boston and Northwestern. Long said she is excited to just get back out and compete again this weekend.
“[The games this weekend] will be exciting because a lot of us are from the east coast, so there will be a lot of support there,” Long said. “But I think we are just ready to get back out on the field after these two losses as we are excited to have another opportunity to play these top ranked teams and work on demonstrating positive outcomes inside the circle and scoring some goals.”
Long said the team is ready to knock off a ranked opponent, having been close several times this season.
“We deserve the win now, since we have been playing all these high ranked teams and we look back and learn so much from the games and we can see how well we did, but we just haven’t gotten the win,” Long said. “I think that’s what this weekend is going to be for us.”
Puzo said he looks forward to playing ranked opponents.
“We are going to take this opportunity to keep gaining respect nationally and gaining experience, while always keeping in mind that we can and will go for the win,” Puzo said.