EAST LANSING, Mich. – A cold, windy day and a steady Michigan State offensive attack led the Spartans to a 3-0 victory over the Miami University field hockey team on Wednesday in the NCAA Tournament Play-In Round game. The RedHawks finish their season at 12-10, while the 20th-ranked Spartans improve to 13-9 and advance to the NCAA First Round against Syracuse on Saturday.
“While we got beat today, it does not take away from any of the accomplishments our team has had this season,” said head coach Iñako Puzo. “I am so proud of our senior class, they are the most accomplished class in school history with four championships. We owe them so much.”
Michigan State was the aggressors throughout the first half, outshooting the RedHawks, 15-0. Despite that, senior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller stood strong for Miami, making seven saves during the period. Senior back Jordan Long also made a great defensive play in the ninth minute, making a save on an open net during a Spartan penalty corner. The game remained scoreless until the 30th minute when Allie Ahern scored from the top of the circle to send the game into the half with MSU in front, 1-0.
Ahern made it 2-0 in the 40th minute when she was able to find an open net. Miami responded by moving the ball into its own attack zone, where senior forward Kaitlin Evans was able to get the Red and White’s first shot attempt of the game, a shot that went just wide of the goal.
Miami’s best chance to score came in the 42nd minute when junior midfielder Valentina Neira had an open lane to the goal. Michigan State goalkeeper Molly Cassidy was able to get in position just in time and made the save. The RedHawks earned a couple of penalty corners right after that, but were unable to get a shot off.
Michigan State completed the scoring in the 48th minute when a nice pass by Katherine Jamieson found Abby Barker on the left side of the circle. She one-timed it into the net to make the score 3-0. Junior back Ali Froede had a couple more shots to get Miami on the board on a couple of penalty corners, but the Spartans were able to preserve the shutout.
Michigan State finished with a 21-6 shot advantage after the teams were even at six shots apiece in the second half. Froede led the ‘Hawks with two shots. The Spartans had a slight edge in penalty corners at 7-6, but Miami had a 6-1 advantage in the second half.