Emily Simanskis, The Miami Student
The Miami University field hockey team played its last home game of the season Saturday against Ohio University, and bested its Mid-American Conference and instate rival 6-0.
The RedHawks end the regular season 11-7 overall, 5-1 in the MAC, 5-4 at home and 5-3 away. The Bobcats finish with a 6-11 record, are 3-3 in the MAC, 4-3 at home and 2-7 away.
"We try to win every single game, doesn't matter if it's tournament, conference, non-conference," head coach Inako Puzo said. "Our mentality is to put the team ready to win and put them in a situation where they can be successful. That's their mentality too--they show up to win every single game."
Senior goalkeeper Alysa Xavier earned her seventh shutout of the season and senior forwards Carla Romagosa and Geagy Pritchard scored two goals apiece to make for a special senior day showing.
The game started slowly, but it didn't take long for the RedHawks to take command of play. Romagosa scored from the left side of the circle in the sixth minute and sophomore forward Paula Portugal scored in the seventh. Both goals were unassisted.
Miami then began to out-run and out-pass OU before the Bobcats got their first shot of the game and their first penalty corner in the fourteenth minute.
The game then became more evenly played, though Miami took back its original momentum after a penalty corner and a goal from Pritchard in the 30th minute. Portugal assisted on the goal, which Pritchard tipped in from a high shot.
A series of crucial saves from Xavier ended the first half with the shots tied 7-7, but the scoreboard read 3-0 in favor of the RedHawks.
"It was great, it feels good finishing the last game and scoring. I don't know, I loved it," Romagosa said. "It was team work, definitely, but being the one putting the ball in the net, it just felt great because it was really important."
Like the first half, the second half started with an early goal, this one from Portugal in the 38th minute off an unassisted, high shot.
Successive four shots and two penalty corners led to an offensive surge from the RedHawks, as Pritchard scored in the 44th minute with another assist from Portugal.
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OU fans willed their team to find the back of the net after the scoreboard read 5-0 and the team looked to regroup, calling a timeout.
A penalty corner for the Bobcats looked like a chance to change momentum, but the RedHawks caught OU in an odd man rush that resulted in Romagosa scoring in the 46th minute into the open net with the sprawling goalkeeper caught several feet from the goal.
The rest of the game saw a goalkeeper change for OU and a cohesive Miami team dominate possession, as all MU players on the roster finishing the game having played at least 10 minutes.
"It also helps that it's senior day, we're all motivated," Romagosa said. "It's all about the seniors so everybody wants to win the game for us for all the work we've done over the past four years. Our mindset was 'we're winning it for the seniors' so we were very ready to fight. We also wanted the second seed in the MAC so we needed to win this game. We were all ready to do the same job, so I think that was the most important thing."
The game ended with a final score of 6-0, shots favoring Miami 21-12 and penalty corners even at 5-5.
After the win secured the second seed in the MAC Tournament, it was announced Saturday evening that Miami will take on third-seeded Longwood University in the MAC Tournament semifinals. The RedHawks will play 2 p.m. Friday in Kent, Ohio.
"It's a good game, it's a good result and, of course, mentally it helps to go there with an optimistic mentality, but each game is different," Puzo said. "I don't think this game is easier than Ball State. I don't think it was a 6-0 game difference, but look at what happened last week in Ball State. We probably dominated as much as we dominated today and it was a very close game until the end. So, we have to take everything in context and make sure that we keep it real."