FARMVILLE, Va. - The Miami University field hockey team struck early against No. 11 Stanford, but was unable to hang on as the Cardinal took a 4-1 victory in the NCAA Play-In game Tuesday afternoon in Farmville, Va. Stanford improves to 16-6 overall and clinches an automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament. The RedHawks finish the 2012 season with a 12-10 record.
The game had a wild start to it as both teams had chances early. Sarah Mueller made a good save for Miami less than three minutes in to keep it scoreless. The 'Hawks took the ball right down to the other side of the field, where Valentina Neira got her own shot off that was stopped. Miami would earn a penalty corner on the play however. On the corner attempt, Ali Froede would take a shot that was saved, but the rebound came right to Olivia Miller. Miller put it in the back of the net to give the RedHawks a 1-0 lead.
Stanford answered back in the ninth minute of the contest. After Mueller made another save, the Cardinal would earn a penalty corner. Emily Henriksson would put it in to tie the match at 1-1. It stayed that way until the 29th minute when Stanford was awarded a penalty stroke. Becky Dru would put it in to give the Cardinal their first lead at 2-1. Stanford would use that momentum to score a little over a minute later on a breakaway. Hope Burke stole the ball and flipped it in on a backhand shot. Burke would then make it 4-1 going into the half when she scored off a penalty corner.
Mueller would keep the RedHawks from falling further behind with seven strong saves in the second half. Miami's best chance to score came in the 42nd minute when it earned three straight penalty corners. Bea Dechant and Froede would each get shots off, but the Red and White were unable to put the ball in the net again.
Stanford outshot Miami, 19-11, for the match. Froede led the RedHawks with three shots. Miami had the penalty corner advantage, 7-6. Mueller made 13 saves in goal, her second-highest save total of the season.
The RedHawks end the season having won their second Mid-American Regular Season title in the past three years. This was the first time they had won the MAC Tournament and their first opportunity to play for a chance to advance to the NCAA Tournament. Miller and Addie Absher are the only seniors who will graduate off the 2012 team, which is scheduled to return 24 players next season.