FARMVILLE, Va. – The Miami University field hockey team used three first half goals to finished off its opening weekend road trip with a convincing, 4-1, victory over Longwood on Monday. The RedHawks improve to 2-1 on the season, while the Lancers fall to 1-1.
“That was a great win to put the finishing touches on what was a productive weekend for us,” said head coach Iñako Puzo. “We have played three tough road games in a four-day span, which was a challenge to the team on their fitness. The hard work demonstrated over the last four days helped toughen them up, both physically and mentally.”
The first half started slowly with Miami attempting only two shots in the first 15 minutes, but holding Longwood without a shot. In the 16th minute, the RedHawks earned a penalty corner. Senior forward Emily Gruesser found freshman forward Grace Leeker on the pass, and Leeker put the ball in the net for her first career goal. It was part of a strong debut weekend for all of Miami’s freshmen.
“We have seen a strong impact from the new players in the program,” said Puzo. “It was great to see the freshmen perform so well over the weekend, which gives us a very optimistic view for the future.”
The Red and White earned another penalty corner attempt in the 25th minute. Gruesser sent the pass in to senior back Sid Marcum. She set the ball perfectly for a shot by junior midfielder Valentina Neira, who beat the goalkeeper to give Miami a 2-0 lead. The RedHawks made it 3-0 in the 29th minute when Gruesser earned her third assist of the half, finding junior midfielder Gabby Goldach for her third goal in three games.
Miami outshot the Lancers, 9-1, in the first half and had a 5-0 advantage in penalty corner attempts.
Longwood got on the board in the 62nd minute when Kim Ruiter scored on a rebound after senior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller made the initial save. Mueller was strong overall in the second half, making five saves after only needing to make one in the first half.
“I think today as the Miami field hockey team we took another step in the right direction,” said Mueller. “We had the choice to give our best and make a statement and we made a decision to do that. Most importantly, we continued to be consistent and loyal to our game style. I think today concludes a successful three game series in which we showed character and constructed a great foundation for the upcoming season to build on.”
The RedHawks completed their scoring in the 65th minute when freshman Carla Romagosa got in behind the Lancer goalkeeper and tapped it in for her first career goal.
Gruesser led Miami with three shots, while Leeker and Goldach each finished with two.
“I’m really proud of the way we have played this weekend,” said senior forward Alyssa Logan. “I believe we have made a statement about what kind of a team we are, and I am really excited to see what we can accomplish the rest of the season.”
Miami will have another challenge next weekend when it heads to Evanston, Ill., for a pair of contests against ranked teams. The RedHawks will take on 16th-ranked Boston University in a neutral site game on Sunday at 1 p.m. (EDT). Miami then faces off against the host, 11th-ranked Northwestern, on Monday at 1 p.m. (EDT).
“Now it is time to head home and over the next five days recover our legs for what is sure to be a tough weekend ahead,” said Puzo.