RedHawks hope to rebound in Michigan
Published: Friday, August 31, 2012
Updated: Friday, August 31, 2012 02:08
The Miami University field hockey team will travel to East Lansing, Mich. this weekend for two games. It will play Stanford University 4 p.m. Saturday followed by a game against Michigan State University 4 p.m. Sunday.
Despite geographic differences, Miami has something in common with its opponents this weekend: The RedHawks, Cardinal and Spartans all lost to ranked opponents during last weekend’s action.
Miami fell to No. 20 Northwestern University 3-0, who plays Stanford Wednesday, as well as falling to the No. 23-ranked University of Louisville 3-1. Stanford lost 3-2 in double overtime against the No. 1-ranked University of Maryland. Even though the Cardinal lost that game, they are still considered one the teams that will compete for a national title this season.
Stanford opened their season with a 10-0 win against LaSalle University. Michigan State opened their season with a 1-0 loss against No. 17 Boston College, and followed that with a 3-1 win against the University of Maine.
The RedHawks, however, are not worried about who they are playing; they are taking any opportunity they can get to improve.
“It doesn’t matter who we play against [or] what their jersey says,” junior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller said.
This is an important attitude for Miami, as the No. 11 Cardinal will be the third-straight ranked opponent the RedHawks will face to open the season. As evidenced by their 10-0 opening win versus LaSalle, Stanford carries quite an offensive punch.
This contrasts Miami’s style, which has strong defensive play. Stanford is averaging 18.5 shots per game this year, while Miami is only averaging 5.5 shots per game. Furthermore, Miami is allowing 19 shots per game to opponents, while Stanford is only allowing 10 shots per game to its opponents.
This carries over to goals scored as well. Miami has only scored one goal this season, while Stanford has had seven different players score. Junior forward Hope Burke leads the Cardinal with three goals, and three other Cardinal players have scored two goals this year. Eight different Stanford players have recorded an assist as well.
As such, the key player for Miami is Mueller. With a .760 save percentage, she is outperforming Stanford freshman goalkeeper Dulcie Davies, who has a .750 save percentage. This strong play will likely help the ’Hawks throughout the season.
“Our team is trying to stay highly competitive and consistent this year,” junior midfielder Jordan Long said.
Michigan State will be the first unranked opponent the RedHawks will face this season, but that does not mean they should be taken lightly. The Spartans play a similar defensive style, and are being outshot by an average of 8.5 to 7.5 shots per game. Sophomore forward Abby Barker leads the Spartans with 2 goals on the season and junior goalkeeper Molly Cassidy has a .833 save percentage.
The RedHawks are embracing the tough start to the season and need to continue to do so this weekend.
“I think it is great to test and evaluate ourselves with the best and recognize that the difference between us and them isn’t that big,” Mueller said. “I totally believe we can beat whoever we face.”