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Excellent season ends in disappointment for Field Hockey

<p>Miami had eight players selected to the All-MAC teams, the most in the conference.</p>

Miami had eight players selected to the All-MAC teams, the most in the conference.

It was another excellent season for Miami Field Hockey (13-2, 10-0 MAC), which won its fourth straight Mid-American Conference (MAC) title and made an NCAA tournament appearance. 

The RedHawks lost Friday, 5-4 in overtime against America East champion Stanford. With the loss, they are eliminated from the NCAA tournament.

The team went undefeated in MAC play, and lost only only one game before the postseason. The loss came to Louisville, who was ranked No. 2 at the time. 

Miami won its first seven games of the season, sweeping Saint Louis, conference rival Ohio, and Longwood in two-game series. After the shootout loss to Louisville, the team won its final six conference games against Kent State, Appalachian State and Ball State.

Head Coach Iñako Puzo’s team was characteristically stingy on defense. They were first in the MAC, allowing just over one goal per two games. The ’Hawks were also explosive on offense, scoring 3.07 goals per game. 

The team got marked contributions from young players this year. Isabele Perese, the sophomore goalie, was one of the best in the country. She ranked sixth in Division I with a 0.56 goals against average, and first in the MAC with an 80.5% save percentage. 

First-year striker Claudia Negrete Garcia ranked 12th in Division I in points per game with 1.83, and first-year striker Paula Peña contributed 11 points in 11 games. Senior forward Allie Grace Joyner led the team in goals with 11, and senior midfielder Leonor Berlie was excellent with 19 points in 15 games. 

The RedHawks cleaned up the MAC postseason awards. Puzo won MAC Coach of the Year, Garcia won MAC freshman of the year and sophomore midfielder Luli Rossi won MAC Defensive Player of the Year.

Joyner, Perese and Berlie were all named First-Team All-MAC. Garcia, Perese, Peña, senior Lexie Nugent and junior Noor Breedijk were named to the second team.

It is not certain which seniors Miami will lose to graduation for next year because the NCAA granted an extra year of eligibility to all athletes due to COVID-19.

Miami and the MAC haven’t announced next year’s schedule yet, but fans can expect an announcement sometime this summer.


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