For the first time in program history, Miami University field hockey went undefeated in Mid-American Conference play. They completed its perfect season in conference play with a 7-1 win over allsall State University on Sunday. The RedHawks are the outright MAC champions for only the second time in the team’s history, the last time being in 1981.
MU finishes their regular season 9-8 (6-0 MAC), while the Cardinals finish 5-12 (1-5 MAC).
“It was relevant for us to make a statement. This championship belongs to us and I think that was the mentality today,” head coach Inako Puzo said. “Because of that mentality, we step up right away and we play hard from the first minute.”
Miami dominated Ball State 17-4 in shots, as well as 8-2 in penalty corners.
It only took four minutes for junior midfielder/forward Paula Portugal to net her 15th goal of the season. She took the ball into the circle and easily put it behind Ball State’s goalkeeper for an unassisted goal. Less than two minutes later, sophomore midfielder Lexi Silver scored her fourth goal of the season when she tipped in a pass from Portugal.
Five minutes later in the 11th minute of play, freshman midfielder Leonor Berlie had her third goal of the season on a penalty stroke. Two minutes later, Portugal scored her second goal of the day off a penalty corner pass from junior midfielder/back Ashley Laskowitz.
Four early goals by the RedHawks led to a goalkeeper change for the Cardinals at 17:48. This change proved futile for Ball State, as Berlie scored her second of the game in the 22nd minute of play.
Ball State finally got on the board in the 30th minute with a goal by senior forward Abbey Main. MU responded two minutes later in the 32nd minute when sophomore forward Gabby Luxardo scored her first collegiate goal off a pass from Portugal.
“We were able to really put the game away in the first half,” Puzo said. “I’m impressed with the performance and commitment of my players.”
At the half, Miami led 6-1. The game slowed down significantly in the second half with the only goal coming in the 65th minute from senior midfielder/forward Henni Otten. This was her second goal of the season.
“We played as a team and we all played really hard,” Otten said. “We played our hearts out. We had lots of shots on goal and played great defense in our 25 and tried to get the ball up on the field.”
Portugal led both teams with seven shots and six points coming from two goals and two assists. Junior goalkeeper Maddie Passarella had one save as MU kept the ball in the attacking third for the majority of the game.
MU also celebrated six seniors during a pre-game ceremony for Senior Day.
“I think it’s really special to get a win in front of all our families and friends on senior day,” senior midfielder/forward Brie Stahl said.
MAC Tournament play begins Friday Nov. 3 for the RedHawks who enter as the top seed. They face Appalachian State University in the semifinal and have previously defeated the Mountaineers 6-2 earlier in the season. The winner goes on to play in the championship on Sunday. MU hopes to build off of the confidence gained this weekend and continue their conference dominance.