OXFORD, Ohio - The Miami University field hockey team won a share of the Mid-American Conference Championship with a 3-1 victory over Ohio on Saturday. It is the second time in the last three seasons that the RedHawks have earned a share of the MAC title. Miami improves to 10-9 overall and finishes 4-1 in the MAC. The Bobcats are 8-8 overall and 2-3 in the MAC.
"Today took a collective effort," said senior Addie Absher. "We had prepared and done all the the little things to ensure we were ready for today's match. We had to bring our 'A' game and that's exactly what we did."
The RedHawks will be the number one seed in the upcoming MAC Tournament that they will host next weekend in Oxford, Ohio. On Friday, Nov. 2, Miami will have a rematch with fourth seed Ohio in the first semifinal at noon. The second seed Kent State and third seed Central Michigan will face each other in the second semifinal at 2:30 p.m. The MAC Championship will take place on Saturday, Nov. 3 at 1 p.m. between the winners of the two semifinals. The winner of the MAC Tournament will travel to the winner of the Nor PAC Tournament on Tuesday, Nov. 6 for a play-in game to earn an automatic spot in the NCAA Tournament.
Ohio had the majority of the offensive opportunities during the first 10 minutes of the game. In the 10th minute, the Bobcats were able to earn a penalty corner. On the play, Laura Mastro would take a pass from Cathryn Altdoerffer and plug it in to put OU up, 1-0. A couple of minutes later, Miami would get a penalty corner attempt. Olivia Miller and Ali Froede each got off shots, but Brittany Walker made a pair of saves.
In the 23rd minute, the RedHawks received another penalty corner attempt. This time Leni Gross found Ali Froede in front of the net. She did not miss as Miami would tie the score going into halftime. The Bobcats had a 7-5 advantage in shots in the first half, while the RedHawks had a 4-2 advantage in penalty corners.
Miami came out as the offensive aggressors in the second half. While Walker made a pair of saves early, Miller would give the RedHawks the lead when she scored on a pass from Bea Dechant in the 48th minute. Looking to equalize the score, Ohio had to become more aggressive offensively. Miami would take advantage in the 62nd minute when Emily Gruesser stole the ball. She found Valentina Neira for a breakaway. Neira would beat Walker to secure the 3-1 victory and the MAC Title for the Red and White.
"We trusted in the process and each other," said head coach Iñako Puzo. "The team showed a lot of character in coming back from a goal down to score three unanswered to win. The team is playing cohesive hockey at a great time."
Miami finished with a 12-9 advantage in shots. It also had a 6-2 advantage in penalty corners. Gruesser led the 'Hawks with four shots, while Sarah Mueller made three saves in goal.
In addition to hosting the MAC Tournament this season, by earning the number one seed in this year's tournament the RedHawks have earned the right to host the 2013 version of the event. Check back with MURedHawks.com and MAC-Sports.com later this week for a full preview of the 2012 MAC Tournament.