The Miami Field Hockey Complex was packed to the brim Wednesday, as fans piled in to watch the first ever NCAA Field Hockey tournament game hosted at Miami University.
Droves of students from Kramer Elementary made the trip down Sycamore St. to watch the RedHawks compete. Members from nearly every other sports team at Miami were visible in the stands, and President Greg Crawford made an appearance at the game. It was standing room only on the Miami sideline.
Maine scored the first goal of the game on a penalty corner late in the first quarter. Brittney Smith inserted the ball to the top of the scoring circle. Madisyn Hartley stopped the ball with an overturned stick and pushed it to her waiting teammate. Poppy Lambert’s stick swung down and the ball scorched into the net.
Junior goalie Isabele Parese made an incredible sliding stop of a loose ball near Miami’s goal early in the second quarter to avoid another Maine score.
Later in the quarter, sophomore forward Claudia Negrete Garcia slithered into the circle and deked three Maine defenders moving parallel to the goal, before firing a reverse chip shot wide. But the amazement was audible from the new field hockey fans in attendance.
Miami had another chance later in the second quarter, but a deflection attempt went just wide of the net off a RedHawk stick.
Lambert scored again to put Maine up 2-0 about halfway through the third quarter. Her second goal was a carbon copy of the first one. Again, Hartley and Smith assisted Lambert, who fired a shot into the net.
Miami responded less than two minutes later. The RedHawks inserted the ball for a penalty corner try and junior midfielder Luli Rosso stopped it at the top of the circle. In the same motion, she sent the ball over to senior midfielder Morgan Sturm. Sturm fired a shot wide of the net, but senior forward Lexie Nugent deflected it into the top corner of the net.
Two minutes after that, the RedHawks tied it. After another penalty corner, the ball was loose in the middle of the scoring circle. Garcia took a mighty whack and sent it into the net past Maine’s sliding goalkeeper.
The teams traded opportunities for the rest of regulation, but no one scored. The game headed to overtime.
Maine got a penalty corner opportunity early in the first overtime period. Parese went into a full split to get her right leg on Maine’s first shot from the top of the circle, then dove left for the next two rebounds.
Less than a minute after that, Miami scored to advance to the second round of the NCAA tournament. Or so it seemed. Noor Breediujk had certainly just sent the ball into Maine’s net. But the referees had to deliberate. All three neon green shirts ambled over to the video board to get another look, presumably to see if a Miami foot had touched the ball on its way into the net. The suspense lasted two full minutes. Then the call.
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“After further review, the call on the field stands.”
Time to celebrate in Oxford.
Miami advances to play top-seeded Michigan in Ann Arbor next round. The two teams face off at noon on Friday, Nov. 12.