In commanding fashion, the Miami University field hockey team defeated Central Michigan 4-0 on Friday to clinch the MAC championship and an undefeated conference-play record (5-0). The Chippewas fell to 0-16 on the year while the RedHawks remain .500 (8-8) after falling to No. 3 Virginia on Sunday 4-0.
Miami’s perfect play in conference earns them the No. 1 seed in the MAC conference tournament. MU will also be hosting the tournament next year because of their success this season.
“It’s an incredible feeling as anyone can imagine, especially getting [the MAC championship] at home with our fans,” senior back Makenna Colby said. “We had a huge student section here today, which really kept the energy up. It’s just a rewarding feeling and it’s indescribable. We want to thank everyone who has helped us get to this point and this is a way that we can do that so it is really important for us to bring home the championship.”
The RedHawks were simply the better team on Friday, outshooting CMU 25-7 and dominating in penalty corners (16-2) as well. It took MU less than four minutes to get on the board when junior midfielder/forward Paula Portugal scored her 12th goal of the season unassisted.
Once she got going, Portugal couldn’t be stopped. She scored her second goal of the game less than ten minutes after the first, and completed her hat-trick in the 33rd minute of play. Her third goal of the game and 14th of the season was also her 100th career point, making her the fifth player in RedHawk history to reach that milestone.
“It’s amazing. I’m very happy. I just want to thank my teammates because they are the ones who push me to get here,” Portugal said. “They make me work harder every day, so thanks to them.”
Freshman forward/midfielder Lexie Nugent notched her seventh goal of the season off a pass from freshman forward Allie Grace Joyner at midfield. Central Michigan tried to make a play on it, but Nugent beat her easily to finish scoring for the day.
The Chippewas had only four shots on goal which junior goalkeeper Maddie Passarella deflected with ease and athleticism. This is Passarella’s fourth shutout of the season.
Coming off of an impressive Friday performance, the RedHawks hosted the Cavaliers Sunday afternoon. No. 3 Virginia backed up their ranking by outshooting MU 30-5 and led in penalty corners 4-3.
Miami hopes to bounce back and ride the wave of being MAC Champions when they host Ball State University on Sunday, Oct. 29th at noon for their regular season finale.