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Miami prepares for critical MAC matchup

Photo by Katherine Hogget

By Sadie Martinez, For The Miami Student

The Miami University field hockey team plays its penultimate Mid-American Conference game against Missouri State University (3-13, 0-4 MAC) 5 p.m. Friday in a game critical to the RedHawks' MAC Tournament hopes.

Senior midfielder/forward Valentina Neira said the game against Missouri State (3-13, 0-4 MAC) will determine the RedHawks' (4-10, 2-2 MAC) future.

"We have to win," Neira said. "We don't have another choice."

Miami is currently in fourth place in the MAC standings. The 'Hawks trail Central Michigan University (6-9, 4-0 MAC) and Kent State University (6-8, 3-0 MAC). They are tied with Ohio University (3-8, 2-2 MAC) and hold a half-game lead over Longwood University (6-10, 2-3 MAC). Miami lost to CMU and Kent, but defeated Ohio and Longwoods.

Only the top four teams in the MAC advance to conference tournament.

The match against Missouri State is Miami's third-to-last of the season. The remaining two games are against UC Davis (4-10, 0-3 Nor Pac) and Ball State (5-9, 1-3 MAC).

Missouri State sophomore goalie Megan Drew as a 57.7 save percentage. Miami sophomore goaltender Alysa Xavier has 67.2 save percentage.

The RedHawks have faced seven nationally ranked teams and Neira feels the MAC games are equally challenging as ranked opponents.

"Our conference is challenging," Neira said. "I don't think other teams will make it easy for us."

The senior RedHawks are beginning to prepare for their last few games in Red and White. Senior back Shannon Regan knows the last three games won't be easy.

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"Going into the games this weekend we need to keep really focused," Regan said. "Every MAC game is hard."

After the RedHawks travel to Missouri, they play against UC Davis noon Sunday in Oxford. The game marks the Hawks' senior night.

"Our goal right now is to make it to the MAC Tournament," Neira said. "We are focusing on our next opponents right now."