WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – The Miami University field hockey team twice had the lead on 18th-ranked Wake Forest, but a goal with just over five minutes remaining allowed the Demon Deacons to escape with a 3-2 win. The RedHawks fall to 0-1 on the season, while Wake Forest begins the year 1-0.
“We aren’t happy with the scoreboard as we came to win, but we made a statement for ourselves tonight,” said head coach Iñako Puzo. “We showed ourselves how we can compete hard and have set the bar for Miami University.”
“Tonight’s game was a great start to our season and the beginning of how Miami field hockey will be known,” said senior midfielder Jordan Long. “We played fearless, relentless and aggressive. While we didn’t come away with the win, we’re more proud to be RedHawks and ready to take on our next opponents regardless of ranking or conference.”
Miami was on the attack during the first 10 minutes of the contest, with junior midfielder Gabby Goldach recording the game’s first shot. The Demon Deacons became the aggressors during the next 10 minutes, firing off several shots, but senior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller stood tall in net making four saves.
Earning a penalty corner in the 26th minute, Goldach put the ball in the net to give the RedHawks a 1-0 lead. On the restart, Wake Forest aggressively attacked and quickly answered 34 seconds later to tie the game at one. Senior forward Emily Gruesser had a good chance late in the first half, but Wake Forest goalkeeper Valerie Dahmen made a nice save in net to send the game into the break tied.
Earning a penalty corner in the 40th minute, sophomore midfielder Bea Dechant was able to find senior midfielder Jordan Long in the middle of the circle. Long buried the ball past Dahmen to put Miami in front, 2-1. However, the Demon Deacons would once again answer quickly on the restart as Kari Walkley scored her second goal of the game only 49 seconds later to retie the game at two.
Mueller made a pair of saves to keep the game tied over the next 25 minutes. In the 65th minute Taylor Rhea hit a reverse shot to give Wake Forest its first lead of the game at 3-2. Senior forward Alyssa Logan had a great opportunity to score the equalizer in the corner of the net with 37 seconds remaining, but Dahmen was able to get her toe on it and kick it away to preserve the 3-2 victory.
“Today was the start of what can be an amazing season,” said junior back Ali Froede. “The team as a whole stepped up to play a hard fought 70 minutes of hockey. Everything we worked on during preseason, especially the high intensity and pressure was applied during tonight’s game. Even though the scoreboard didn’t how we wanted, we took a huge step in the right direction to accomplish this season’s goals.”
“We played against a great team tonight and we knew it was going to be challenging,” added Puzo. “I think we stood up to the challenge, and although we left the field with a loss, we also walked off with character. As long as we can keep this intensity and learn from our mistakes as we go to our next contest we will be in good shape. I am very proud of this team.”
Miami heads to Farmville, Va., where it will take on Radford in a neutral site game beginning at 11 a.m.