OXFORD, Ohio - As the field hockey season nears its conclusion, the Miami University field hockey team has a chance to clinch a spot in the Mid-American Conference Tournament this weekend. The RedHawks (8-8, 2-1 MAC) look to improve their league record against Ball State (3-12, 0-4 MAC) on Saturday at noon in Muncie. With a win, Miami clinches a spot in the tournament. Meanwhile, Kent State will play at Missouri State on Friday. A Golden Flashes win paired followed by the RedHawks winning the next day would actually set the four teams coming to Oxford for the MAC Tournament, Nov. 2-3 in Miami, Kent State, Ohio and Central Michigan. Seeding would still need to be determined.
History is on the RedHawks' side, as the Red and White are 8-2 against Ball State the past five years. However, Miami will look to erase recent history Saturday, as it dropped both regular season matches to the Cardinals last season. The 'Hawks did rebound to defeat Ball State, 2-1, in the 2011 MAC Tournament. The Cardinal offense is lead by freshman Allie White, who has notched five goals and three assists for 13 points in her rookie campaign.
Miami will also travel to 15th-ranked Michigan for a non-conference game on Sunday at 1 p.m. The Wolverines are 9-5 this season and 2-2 in the Big Ten. They are led by junior Rachael Mack, who has 15 goals and five assists for 35 points in 2012.
One of the key players during Miami's recent surge towards contention is junior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller. She currently leads the MAC with .769 save percentage and ranks second in goals against average at 2.93. Mueller has come up big for her team all season, providing stellar play as Miami's last line of defense. The Berlin, Germany native was named the MAC Defensive Player of the Week for her efforts two weeks ago, as she backstopped Miami to a win against MAC rival Kent State and a narrow loss against Indiana. It was the second time she earned the award this season and the third time in her career.
The RedHawk offensive is led by committee rather than by an individual. The 'Hawks boast a balanced attack, with five players having double digit points on the year, more than any other MAC team. Freshman Bea Dechant currently is the leader with 17 points on six goals and five assists, while senior Olivia Miller leads the team with seven goals on the year.
Miami will finish the regular season on Saturday, Oct. 27 when it hosts Ohio at 10:30 a.m. for a game that will have huge MAC implications. It will be Senior Day and at the conclusion of the match there will be a ceremony honoring Miller and Addie Absher for their contributions over the past four years. The RedHawks will then host the MAC Tournament, Nov. 2-3. The semifinals will take place on Friday, Nov. 2 at noon and 2:30 p.m., followed by the MAC Championship on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m.