Emily Simanskis, The Miami Student

In its final home and regular season Mid-American Conference game, the Miami University field hockey team prepares to take on rival Ohio University at home 12:35 p.m. Saturday before the MAC finals next weekend.

Miami enters the weekend with an overall record of 10-7 and a MAC record of 4-1. The RedHawks look to break .500 in Oxford as they are 4-4 at home.

OU looks to improve its record of 6-10 overall, 3-2 in the MAC and 2-6 away.

“It’s a team that has a lot on the line for them, well for both teams, but especially for them in terms of the tournament,” head coach Inako Puzo said. “I’m expecting a team that’s going to come here very aggressive in terms of hockey, to try to play very fast from the beginning. To go to the attack because they need the win.”

This regular season closer resembles last year’s — Miami and OU faced off in Athens before the MAC tournament, with Miami ultimately winning 3-0.

OU went on to play Kent State in the semifinals, losing that contest, and Miami went on to best Missouri State in the semifinals but lose to Kent State in double overtime in the finals.

“We have to go out to win the game, with the mentality that we need to win the game in order to get the second seed in the tournament,” Puzo said. “And just be persistent in attack and play the passing game.  That’s the only game we know how to play.”

The RedHawks are coming off a two-win weekend against nonconference opponent Appalachian State and MAC opponent Ball State.  OU comes off last weekend with a double-overtime loss to Kent State, a MAC opponent, and a loss to non-conference foe Michigan State.

If the RedHawks win on Saturday, they’ll secure second place in the MAC standings.  If they lose, they’ll tie with OU for second.  Regardless, Miami enters the weekend knowing that it will play in the tournament.

Saturday will also recognize the team’s five seniors, goalkeeper Alysa Xavier, forwards Geagy Pritchard and Carla Romagosa, midfielder Megan Moody and back Kelsi White, for their contributions.

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