OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University field hockey team returns home for a pair of games this weekend. On Saturday, the RedHawks (6-7 overall; 1-1 Mid-American Conference) have a key MAC showdown against Kent State at noon. Miami will then step out of conference to take on Indiana on Sunday at 1 p.m. Both games will be broadcast live on Miami All-Access.
The Red and White are coming off a split in the state of Missouri last weekend. Miami dropped a MAC game to Missouri State, 3-1, on Saturday before rebounding with a 1-0 win over Saint Louis on Sunday. Bea Dechant scored on a penalty stroke to give the 'Hawks the non-conference victory.
"These were tough games," said head coach Iñako Puzo. "It's a long trip to Missouri State and it's always a tough game there as they protect their home field pretty well. Saint Louis was difficult as well, but it was important that we came away with a victory."
Kent State is 5-8 overall and 1-0 in the MAC. The Golden Flashes are coming off a tough, 11-2, loss to 19th-ranked Duke last Sunday. Their top offensive player is sophomore Julia Hofmann, who has 10 goals and one assist for 21 points. Kent State is fairly strong on offense, averaging 2.46 goals per game, but it is giving up an average of 4.62 goals per game defensively.
"This is a big game, especially because we play only five MAC games this season," said Puzo. "Just the top four teams qualify for the MAC tournament so it's huge for both teams. It's always a big fight on the field. We have a great relationship with the Kent State team but on the field that relationship turns into a big fight. It is always a good game, just because you have to be ready, and you have to make adjustments every ten minutes so you can stay in the game and be competitive."
Indiana is 6-4 overall and 0-2 in the Big Ten. Prior to facing the RedHawks, the Hoosiers will host 11th-ranked Iowa in a conference game on Friday. Indiana dropped both games on the road last weekend, falling to Michigan State, 3-0, on Friday before losing to Ball State, 3-2, on Sunday. IU's top offensive player has been senior Morgan Fleetwood with six goals and four assists for 16 points in 2012. She has missed the past two games, however.
"We played a scrimmage game with Indiana earlier this season, and I enjoy playing them," said Puzo. "I'm expecting a good game of hockey. I expect our players to show up and not just be willing to not just play but willing to win."
Miami will continue to play out of conference next weekend when it plays only one game. The RedHawks will host Appalachian State on Friday, Oct. 12 at 5 p.m. The game will be broadcast live on Miami All-Access.