Emily Simanskis, The Miami Student
The Miami University field hockey team moved past its previous two losses and came up with a 6-1 home win over Appalachian State on Friday and a 1-0 road win over Ball State on Sunday.
After the weekend, Miami moves to 10-7 on the season, 4-1 in the Mid-American Conference, 4-4 at home and 5-3 away. App. State is now 1-12 on the season and 0-3 away.
Seven countries were represented in a ceremony recognizing international athletes before the early back and forth play began Friday. The boxing club was also in attendance and vowed to do five pushups for each goal scored--the fans hoped their arms would be tired by the end of the game.
Play moved to App.'s end as Miami took five shots before its first goal came in the 12th minute from Marie-Claire Gorner, a freshman midfielder, as a result of a penalty corner.
The RedHawks faced some pushback from the Mountaineers before another penalty corner was awarded. Junior forward Henni Otten sent a shot from the top of the circle hurtling into the back of the net in the 17th minute, putting MU up 2-0.
Neither team had noteworthy chances during the following ten minutes of play and MU took only two shots to App.'s one before another penalty corner was awarded. Kelsi White, a senior back, assisted on the subsequent goal scored by junior forward Emily George in the 26th minute.
Rachel Gaines, App.'s goalkeeper, ended the half with a great save as the RedHawks entered the half leading 3-0.
"I think for most of the time we kept it pretty fast and they were fast as well," White said. "They did a lot of fast breaks, fast starts and that helped us keep our speed and momentum too."
The second half started with an early Miami penalty corner, answered by an App. State goal by senior forward Micaela Diedericks in the 38th minute. The tally, which resulted from a scramble in front of Miami's goal, made the score 3-1.
The RedHawks were unrelenting in their offensive play and were quick to capitalize on several odd-man rushes, one of which led to Miami's fourth goal.
A penalty stroke was awarded to sophomore forward Paula Portugal after she was caught on the right side of the field and tripped. Making the shot in the 50th minute, it was Portugal's 13th goal of the season.
The game moved slower in the second half, the cold evening air bogging down play and resulting in less shots and penalty corners awarded and taken by both teams.
Ultimately, Miami came up with two more goals to cushion its lead. In the 52nd minute, sophomore midfielder Estel Roig earned an unassisted score. In the 62nd, freshman back Kirsten McNeil capitalized on a feed from sophomore back Ashley Laskowtiz to best the Mountaineers 6-1.
"It's a good win," head coach Inako Puzo said. "We were coming from two losses last weekend, it was very important for us mentally to come strong today and come with a win and to move on. I think that the team performed very well. We tried to maintain a high tempo the entire game and we had the opportunity to roll a lot of people on the field, thinking also a little bit of our game on Sunday against Ball State, a big MAC game for us and I think that everything went as planned and we're happy with it, we're sold on the performance."
Four of the six goals scored were the players' either first or second goals of the season.
"We got six goals and I believe it was six different people. This helped all of them get more confident and, like I say, this part of the season that's a very important piece of the puzzle, to give everybody confidence," Puzo said.
Sunday afternoon in Indiana against Ball State proved to be much less offensive, with the only goal of the game scored by Portugal in the 53rd minute off a feed from senior forward Carla Romagosa.
After Portugal's goal, the RedHawks rode the momentum and Ball State's only shot came in the second to last minute of play.
The first half of the game yielded only four shots and three penalty corners for the RedHawks, whereas in the second half the RedHawks had 10 shots and 10 penalty corners. Portugal took seven of the game's total shots.
The Cardinals fall to 7-10 on the season, 2-2 in the MAC and 1-4 at home.
Miami, second in the MAC, looks to play rival Ohio University, third in the MAC, 12:30 p.m. Saturday in its last home game of the season before tournament play.
"I think we need to hit our peak right as we're going into the MAC tournament, so that we can make it all the way to the end and hopefully the NCAAs," White said.