OXFORD, Ohio- The day after being named Mid-American Conference Freshman of the year, midfielder Bea Dechant provided an electric finish for the top-seeded Miami University field hockey team with a game-winning, overtime goal to lift the RedHawks past fourth-seed Ohio on Friday afternoon, 3-2, in the semifinal game of the MAC Tournament held in Oxford. Miami improves to 11-9 overall, while the Bobcats finish the season at 8-9.
The RedHawks will take on second-seed Kent State in the MAC Championship game on Saturday at 1 p.m. The Golden Flashes earned their spot in the title game with a 3-2 victory over Central Michigan in the other semifinal Friday.
Ohio as the aggressors early on as it had several early scoring chances. Sarah Mueller came up huge in goal with five saves, including a diving stick save in the 26th minute to keep the game scoreless.
Miami would finally break the tie in the 30th minute when the RedHawks were awarded a penalty corner. Olivia Miller would find Emily Gruesser tucked in the left corner of the goal with a perfect pass that Gruesser hammered home. Ohio would earn a penalty corner of its own just as time was expiring at the end of the first half. The Bobcats would even the score at one on the play when Adele Sammons knocked in the ball off a Jessica Jue assist.
Jue put the Bobcats on top just minutes into the second half, scoring an unassisted goal on a rebound after a Miami junior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller save. It remained that way until the 53rd minute when the RedHawks were able to get another penalty corner opportunity. This time Miller found Ali Froede to the left of the circle and her shot would tie the score at 2-2. Each team had one shot in the final 16 minutes of regulation, but neither was able to score, sending Miami to its first overtime game of the season.
Overtime is played 7-on-7 to open up the field and create more scoring chances. The RedHawks took advantage as they outshot the Bobcats, 4-1, during the overtime frame. In the 77th minute, Miami would earn yet another penalty corner. Gruesser would send the pass into Leni Gross. She took it to the middle of the circle and passed off to Dechant. Dechant would then fire it passed the Ohio goalkeeper to give the Red and White a 3-2 victory and a spot in Saturday's MAC Tournament Championship.
Miami outshot Ohio, 11-10, for the game. Dechant led the RedHawks with four shots. Miami also had a 7-5 advantage in penalty corners. Mueller recorded six saves in goal for the 'Hawks.
Saturday's MAC Tournament championship between Miami and Kent State will be broadcast live on Miami All-Access as well as the MAC website.