The Miami University women’s club hockey team beat Grand Valley State University, 3-2, to win the American Collegiate Hockey Association Division I women’s national championship Sunday.
It’s the third time the RedHawks have reached the national title game and the second time they’ve been crowned champion in the last three years.
“It’s the sweetest moment in the world because you did all of it together and gave everything you had,” senior defenseman Jessie Gould said. “You sacrificed weekends, parties, family time, plans with friends, countless hours of sleep and studying — all so that you could make it here, hoisting that trophy and singing your school’s fight song at center ice for a stadium of your biggest fans.”
In the last three years, MU has gone 83-8-6. It’s a major feat for a team that barely one half its games four season ago during the 2012-13 season.
“It’s been such an amazing journey to watch our program grow every single season, and this year we really had something special,” senior defenseman and co-team captain Morgan McGrath said. “I’ve never been a part of a team with such a strong bond. We really are family.”
If claiming the national title wasn’t sweet enough, the revenge the ’Hawks tasted on the way there made it even sweeter.
Liberty University defeated Miami in the national title game a year ago, but this time, Miami turned the tables in a rematch, knocking Liberty out of the tournament in the semifinal round Saturday with a 3-2 overtime win. Liberty had been undefeated.
That wasn’t the only grudge match Miami avenged. After winning the regular season, Miami fell to Grand Valley in triple overtime in the league playoffs — a loss assistant coach Jim Stearns described as “devastating.”
“This more than evened the score — we got the big one,” Stearns said. “Every player and coach on this team has a piece of this. To win an overtime semifinal and overtime final in a national tournament shows the players’ resolve and their ability to perform under lots of pressure. I absolutely love this group.”
Sophomore defenseman Becca Senden scored the overtime game winner in the title game.
Miami outshot GVSU 35-13 and went 1-of-6 on the power play, while holding Grand Valley to 0-of-3 on the man advantage.
Four players received ACHA All-American awards and five received all-tournament honors, including junior Emalee Wills, who was named the first team all-tournament goaltender.
Junior forward Kaley Mooney, who scored the overtime game-winning goal against Liberty, was named the tournament MVP.
“It was an honor to coach such a hardworking a resilient group,” head coach Scott Hicks said. “We lost one of our better players to injury in our conference tournament and faced a lot of adversity throughout the year, including right until the final goal, but this team battled and worked together to find a way to win.”