OXFORD, Ohio - For the first time since 2007, the Miami University field hockey team is hosting the Mid-American Conference Tournament. The RedHawks are the number one seed in this weekend's event and will take on No. 4 seed Ohio on Friday at noon. The second semifinal features No. 2 seed Kent State vs. No. 3 seed Central Michigan at 2:30 p.m. The MAC Championship will take place on Saturday at 1 p.m. between the winners of the two games. The championship game will be webcast on Miami All-Access.
Admission to the MAC Field Hockey Tournament is $10 for adults and $7 for youth under 18. Students from any of the participating institutions can get in free with a school ID. On Friday, fans can ask for a wristband that will entitle them to also attend the MAC Women's Soccer Tournament that will be going on at the same time for no additional charge.
Miami enters the MAC Tournament 10-9 overall and with a 4-1 record in the MAC. The RedHawks shared the MAC regular season title with Kent State, but earned the number one seed overall based on a 4-1 victory over the Golden Flashes on Oct. 6. They feature five players with 15 or more points, led by freshman Bea Dechant, who has seven goals and six assists for 20 points on the season. Senior Olivia Miller is the leading goal scorer in 2012 with eight.
Ohio enters the MAC Tournament 8-8 overall and 2-3 in the MAC. The two teams just met last Saturday with Miami coming away with a 3-1 win. After the Bobcats struck first, the RedHawks responded with three unanswered goals to earn their second regular season title in the past three seasons. Despite playing for the second time in six days, junior forward Emily Gruesser sees the pressure going into Friday's game to be equal on both teams.
"Last week, the pressure was all on us because we wanted to be conference champs," said Gruesser, who has seven goals and four assists this season. "But now it's on both of us and it's going to be that much more of a fight."
The winner of the MAC Tournament will travel to the winner of the Nor-Pac Tournament (held Nov. 1-3 at Longwood University) for a play-in game on Tuesday, Nov. 6. The winner of that play-in game will receive an automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament.
"We have done everything that was expected," head coach Iñako Puzo said. "We are not going to have any regrets after this weekend. It doesn't matter what happens. We are putting it all on the line."