Emily Simanskis, The Miami Student
The Miami University field hockey team begins post season play 2 p.m. Friday in Kent, Ohio. After earning the second seed in the Mid-American Conference Tournament, Miami will play third-seeded Longwood University in the conference semifinals.
MU closed the season at 11-7 overall and 5-1 in conference, and comes to the tournament riding the momentum from a 6-0 senior day win over Ohio University.
"I think that game meant a lot for us and for our seniors. We wanted to go out with a win for them, especially," junior back Makenna Colby said. "I think it gave a lot of confidence. We had a shutout and for our forwards and mids, six goals is impressive against OU. So it was a lot of confidence on both sides of the ball."
Longwood closes the regular season at 9-8 overall and 3-3 in the MAC. The Lancers enter the tournament following a 3-0 win against Missouri State.
This is Longwood's first time in the MAC tournament since joining the conference three years ago, so added emotional intensity is expected from the Lancers.
"I think we go in with the same mentality, but we know that a lot is on the line--if you lose, you go home," Colby said. "I know at practice, it's going to be intense just like any other practice and we're going to be ready to play 70 minutes on Friday."
The last time these two teams faced off was in early October when Miami held off a late offensive push from Longwood to win 3-2. Head coach Inako Puzo stressed playing the entire 70 minutes after the game, as well as not allowing Longwood to dominate even five minutes of play at the beginning or end.
"We know how dangerous they are, we know now that you cannot give them any time during the game to get momentum and to start things going their way," Puzo said. "So, looking back, finishing 3-2 that game is probably better than finishing 3-0. It's going to keep us focused, it's going to keep us knowing that we have to play for the entire game in our intensity."
Last year, the RedHawks defeated Missouri State 3-0 in the semifinals to advance and play Kent State in the finals, only to lose 3-2 in double overtime.
If the RedHawks defeat the Lancers, they'll move on to play the winner of the first-seeded Kent State and fourth-seeded Ball State semifinal game in the finals 2 p.m. Saturday. Puzo emphasized taking one game at a time when going into this weekend.
"The only thing I'd really add to that, is it's going to take a lot of heart and a lot of passion to keep playing and to really play for each other," senior forward Geagy Pritchard said.
Seniors Carla Romagosa, a forward, and Alysa Xavier, starting goalkeeper, were both selected to the National Field Hockey Coaches Association Senior Game that takes place on Nov. 19th at 2:30 pm at Old Dominion University. They're two of 38 players selected.
Romagosa ended the regular season with seven goals and 11 assists, while Xavier has played every minute for the RedHawks and will likely start in the team's tournament game this weekend.
Thursday, Romagosa was named MAC Player of the Year--the league's highest honor.
Xavier, junior back Mariona Heras, and sophomore forward Paula Portugal were honored with Romagosa on the All-MAC First Team. Pritchard was named Second-Team All-MAC.
Portugla was named co-MAC Offensive Player of the Week for the third time this season after having two goals and two assists in Miami's game against OU.
Miami looks to draw confidence from these honors as the RedHawks head into the tournament this weekend.