Drew McDonell, Staff Writer

Kylie Landeros controls the ball in a game against CMU Sept. 11, 2009. (MICHAEL GRIGGS | The Miami Student)

The Miami University field hockey team will kick off their season Aug. 27 as they head to Berkeley, Calif. to face the University of California (CAL) Golden Bears.

Aug. 29, the team will take on the University of the Pacific Tigers.

Many of the girls on the team are eager to have the opportunity to travel to California.

“Being from California, I am very excited to be playing at CAL our first weekend of the season,” senior Mary Hall said.

The Kookaburra/National Field Hockey Coaches Association (NFHCA) released a pre-season poll Tuesday, which predicts each team’s final outcome for the season. The poll is based on the amount of votes each team received from coaches. The teams with the most votes are ranked the highest.

The CAL Golden Bears are expected to be a good matchup for the ‘Hawks, as they ranked higher on the Division I pre-season poll. CAL received 50 votes, while Miami received nine. The team is excited to face the Golden Bears again after defeating them in a close 2-1 overtime match last year.

The Pacific Tigers are also expected to be great competition, as they received many votes in the NFHCA pre-season poll as well.

The RedHawks were also pleased to find that Miami is predicted to take second place in the Mid-American Conference (MAC). Kent State is slated to take first, while Ohio University is predicted to take third.

Head Coach Jill Reeve said freshman goalkeeper Sarah Mueller has positively influenced the team.

“Sarah Mueller has been a rock star in the cage during preseason and the whole team is enjoying the competitive presence that stands behind them,” Reeve said. “I like her aggressive playing style and calming effect she has on our backfield.”

The upcoming matches will also provide an opportunity for the team to showcase the new freshman additions. The upperclassmen have already taken the initiative to help the younger girls prepare for their busy schedule and adjust to their new team.

“Our upperclassmen all have good leadership qualities, we have had the most experience and therefore can advise and help the underclassmen,” Hall said. “The responsibility consists of both leading by example on and off the field. It is important to show incoming freshmen what your team prides itself on and how we operate. We do a good job of that.” 

The RedHawks will play CAL 8 p.m. Aug.27.