The Miami University field hockey team recorded their first win of the season on Saturday's home opener, winning 6-4 despite an early 3-0 deficit against Longwood University. Junior Emily Gruesser led the team with two goals in the second half, as the RedHawks erased a 4-3 Longwood advantage to begin the period. Miami moves to 1-4 on the season, while the Lancers fall to 0-6.
"Coming back from a three-goal deficit isn't always easy, but we kept fighting to tie it up and then some." Gruesser said, "We all feel very good about how we played."
The RedHawks fell behind early as Lancer Jennifer Burris opened the scoring just two and a half minutes into the game. Stacey deGrandhomme would add to the Red and White's woes four minutes later with a penalty stroke goal to put Longwood ahead, 2-0. After Nicole Deckard made the score 3-0, Miami head coach Inako Puzo called a time out to rally the faltering RedHawks.
"I think this game really exemplified our character and mental toughness. We came out slow and were just letting them play their game, but finally we stepped it up and took control of the game."
After an impassioned speech from coach Puzo, Miami junior Kaitlin Evans found the back of the net off a feed from freshman Bea Dechant to pull the RedHawks within two. Evans received Dechant's pass and fired the ball passed Lancer goal keeper Amy Lewis to put the Red and White on the board. The celebration was short lived, as Jessica Diaz scored on a breakaway to put to the Lancers ahead, 4-1.
Miami answered right back at the 21:04 mark when sophomore Valentina Neira redirected a shot from sophomore Ali Froede off a penalty corner cutting the deficit to 4-2.
The Red and White would pull the game within one with three minutes left in the half as senior Olivia Miller scored her first goal of the game. Miller took a pass from the short corner and put the ball on net, her shot somehow finding its way into the net after a deflection off a Longwood defender in front, making the score 4-3 at the break.
The 'Hawks came out firing in the second half, as Gruesser scored her first goal of the afternoon after a pair of yellow cards on the Lancers created a two-player advantage for the RedHawks. Gruesser was in front of the net for the goal after Dechant sent the ball in from the short corner, tying the game at four aside.
The defense for both teams really clamped down after the goal, as neither team could really get an advantage in the offensive zone for a long stretch of the second half. Miami junior Alyssa Logan finally broke through the Lancer defense for a goal at 60:28 giving the RedHawks a 5-4 lead, their first lead of the game off another penalty corner.
Gruesser would add another goal at 63:45 when she tapped in Logan's pass far side to close out the scoring at 6-4.
The RedHawks outshot the Lancers 22-15. They also had a 15-7 advantage in penalty corners. Miller led the way with six shots. She also had two assists, tying Dechant for the team lead. Sarah Mueller made six saves in net to earn the victory.
"We really played together as a team." Gruesser said after the game, "I am so excited for what's to come. We have some more really tough teams (ahead of us) so we're going to use this momentum and keep fighting the whole season."
Miami travels to 23rd-ranked Ohio State Sunday as they take on the Buckeyes at 1 p.m.