OXFORD, Ohio - It wasn't the finish they were hoping for, but the Miami University soccer team still has a lot to be proud of. And a lot still to play for.
The RedHawks had their sights set on becoming the first team in Mid-American Conference history to finish with a perfect conference record, but a 1-1 tie against Ball State University Thursday afternoon dropped the hosts to 10-0-1.
"We would have liked to have a better result in that game, but we didn't quite play to our full potential," said freshman Haley Walter, who scored Miami's lone goal against the Cardinals. "We're going to have to just take this, grow from it and come out stronger on Sunday."
Miami, which clinched the MAC regular-season title last week at Central Michigan (Oct. 19), will host rival Ohio University Sunday in the quarterfinal round of the MAC Tournament.
Game time is 1 p.m. at Miami Soccer Field. Admission will be charged because it is a MAC Tournament game with tickets $5 for adults and $3 for children 18 and under while all students of MAC institutions get in free with a student ID.
The top-seeded RedHawks defeated the Bobcats, 1-0, in their only regular-season meeting in Athens. Ohio, the eighth seed, finished with an 8-9-1 overall mark (3-6-1 MAC), while Miami was 16-2-1.
"We understand the challenges that lie ahead of us and certainly OU is an extra special game," Miami coach Bobby Kramig said.
The RedHawks, who were riding a program-record11-game winning streak entering Thursday's game, are three wins away from tying the school record for most victories in a season.
The 2002 squad, which finished with 19 wins, was the only other team in program history to win the regular-season conference title. That team also went on to win the MAC Tournament, not to mention reach the second round of the NCAA Tournament.
This year's team would like to do the same.
The RedHawks boast the seventh-ranked offense in the nation, scoring an average of 2.72 goals per match and also lead the MAC in defense with 0.82 goals allowed per game.
Miami is currently ranked No. 4 in the latest NSCAA Great Lakes Region Poll behind Penn State, Ohio State and Michigan, which are all nationally ranked.