OXFORD, Ohio – The Miami University field hockey team scored on two second half penalty corners, and then held on after an Ohio rally late to defeat the Bobcats, 2-1, in the MAC Tournament Semifinals Friday afternoon. The third seeded RedHawks improve to 11-9 overall, while second seeded Ohio finishes the season 7-10.
Miami advances to the MAC Tournament Championship for the second straight season, where it will take on fourth seed Central Michigan Saturday at 2 p.m. The Chippewas upset top seed Kent State in the first semifinal, 3-1.
The RedHawks dominated play early, as junior back Ali Froede and senior forward Emily Gruesser each got shot attempts that were just short of going in. On their first offensive rush of the game in the 12th minute, the Bobcats were able to score when Andrea Biegalski found Jessica Jue on the left side of the circle and she was able to hit the corner of the net for the goal.
Miami had a great chance to score in the 24th minute. Gruesser had a shot that was stopped by Ohio goalkeeper Alyssa Logan had a shot attempt late in the half, but it was saved by Walker and Ohio took a 1-0 lead into the break.. However, the ‘Hawks kept the ball in the circle and eventually earned a penalty corner. After passing the ball around, Froede had a shot from the center of the circle, but it went just wide. Senior
Earning a penalty corner in the 39th minute, Gruesser sent the ball to the center of the circle where senior back Sid Marcum was waiting. She found junior midfielder Valentina Neira on her left, whose shot was tipped by Logan past Walker to tie the score at one.
Miami kept the pressure on the Bobcats, eventually earning another pair of penalty corners. On the second one Neira had a terrific pass to sophomore midfielder Bea Dechant, who tipped it in to give the RedHawks a 2-1 lead.
Ohio went on the attack after Miami scored, earning a pair of penalty corners. In the 56th minute, Luli Gomez Turel had a clear shot from the right side, but senior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller came out of the net to make a nice save.
As time was expiring, Ohio was able to earn another penalty corner. The rules of field hockey allow the game to continue until either the attacking team scores, commits a foul or the defending team clears the ball out of the circle. The RedHawks did a good job keeping the Bobcats from getting a quality shot on net, but twice they committed another foul, allowing the penalty corner to continue. Finally on Ohio’s third attempt, the Bobcats committed a foul which ended the game and gave Miami a 2-1 win.
The teams finished tied with 12 shots apiece. Gruesser led the ‘Hawks with three shot attempts. Ohio had an 8-7 advantage in penalty corners, while Mueller made three stops in goal.
The winner of Saturday’s MAC Championship game will earn an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. The game will be broadcast live on Miami All-Access.