In its Mid-American Conference (MAC) opener, the Miami University field hockey team claimed a 7-0 victory over the Ball State University Cardinals.
“The game that we played for 70 minutes today was outstanding, and we proved again the discipline and persistency are necessary to be ready and take care of business in these MAC games,” head coach Inako Puzo said.
The RedHawks improved their record for the season to 7-6, while Ball State fell to 5-7 overall and 0-2 in conference.
“I remember us saying how we start is how we will end, so we put a lot of fight into a hard game,” junior midfielder Valentina Neira said.
Miami had seven different players take a total of 20 shots during the game. The RedHawks were first able to capitalize in the 17th minute, when senior forward Emily Gruesser was able to score off of an assist from senior midfielder Jordan Long.
In the 20th minute freshman forward Grace Leeker scored an unassisted goal, the first of her three. It was her first hat trick as a RedHawk.
“I was just excited that I could be at the right place at the right time and show what I could do on the field,” Leeker said.
The RedHawks went into the half without allowing single Ball State shot attempt.
“We were told today that when we want something to go for it and we wanted the win so that’s what we got,” Leeker said.
The second half continued much like the first, with offensive pressure and controlled possession of the ball leading to four more goals from the RedHawks.
Neira led Miami in shots for the game with five, and she was able to score two. Sophomore midfielder Bea Dechant followed close behind with four shots attempted. Senior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller earned her second straight shutout by making four saves. Miami outshot Ball State 20-5 andheld a 13-0 advantage in penalty corners.
Before the game, the international athletes on both teams were recognized, and the International Student Organization was also in attendance to show its support for the RedHawks.
Mueller, an international student from Germany, organized the event for the international students as an opportunity to enjoy American sports culture, and that it gives them an opportunity to enjoy fall break since many international students do not have the opportunity to return home.
“International students are not very accustomed to American sports, or know how closely sports are related to being a RedHawk and representing Miami, so I think this is one great opportunity where we can all share diversity and the game,” Mueller said. “We had a lot of fans out today and having the flags and signs up was great support for us and to show the students the win was great for them too,” Mueller said.
Neira said the win gave the RedHawks confidence with MAC play underway.
“Now we have the confidence to keep working hard and of course while we are happy now we soon have to start focusing on the next step, which is Missouri State,” Neira said.
The RedHawks continue MAC play when they take on Missouri State University Saturday.