OXFORD, Oh. – The Miami field hockey team opens the season against Syracuse in Columbus on Saturday at 4 p.m. before returning home on Tuesday to face off against Northwestern at 3 p.m. Both Syracuse and Northwestern are among the six teams on the RedHawks non-conference schedule that are in the NFHCA preseason top-20.

Miami was tabbed as the favorites in the MAC this season after winning back-to-back MAC Tournament titles. Head coach Iñako Puzo hopes the tough early season schedule will prepare his team for another run to a MAC championship.

A Look at No. 5 Syracuse

The Orange finished last season 16-4, but like the RedHawks, suffered a season-ending loss to Michigan State in the NCAA Tournament. The squad has been picked to finish third in the ever-competitive ACC this season and will be led by 2014 Preseason All-ACC selections senior Katie Nearhouse and junior Alyssa Manley.

All-Time Series with the Orange

Syracuse holds a 2-1 all-time advantage over Miami in the programs’ previous three meetings. The most recent meeting was a 2-0 win for the Orange in 2001, while the RedHawks’ win in the series came in 1996 in a 1-0 triumph.

A Look at No. 14 Northwestern

The Wildcats just missed NCAA Tournament play and finished 18th in the season’s final RPI rankings by posting a 15-5 record while tying for the Big Ten regular season title. The ‘Cats return sophomore Dominique Masters, who scored eight goals and dished out four assists for Northwestern. Masters is the older sister of Miami freshman Genevieve Masters.

All-Time Series with the Wildcats

Tuesday’s game between Miami and Northwestern will be the 14th game between the two programs with the Wildcats holding a 12-1 advantage. Last season Northwestern shut out the RedHawks to nab a 3-0 win in Evanston, Ill. The Red and White earned its lone win in the series with a 3-1 win in the 2006 season opener.

Quick Shots

  • Miami is 19-17-1 in season openers after losing at No. 18 Wake Forest by a score of 3-2 to start last season.
  • Ali Froede and Bea Dechant are returning after earning All-MAC First Team honors while Carla Romagosa earned a spot on the All-MAC Second Team.
  • The RedHawks qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in program history in 2013.

Gameday Information

Miami (0-0) vs. Syracuse (0-0) – Saturday, August 30 at 4 p.m.
Buckeye Varsity Field | Columbus, Ohio
Live Stats: OhioStateBuckeyes.com

Miami (0-0) vs. Northwestern (0-0) – Tuesday, Sept. 2 at 3 p.m.
Miami Field Hockey Complex | Oxford, Ohio
Live Stats: MURedHawks.com

Upcoming Schedule

Miami will continue its difficult schedule next week traveling to play two more Big Ten opponents. The team will play at Ohio State on Friday at 5:00 p.m. before heading to College Park, Md. to play the preseason No. 1 team in Maryland.