Daniel Wheeler, For The Miami Student

Junior Olivia Miller aims to make a play against Northwestern University Sunday as the Miami bench watches. (SCOTT ALLISON | The Miami Student)

The Miami University Field Hockey team dropped the season’s first two games over the weekend, losing 3-0 and 4-0 to Indiana University and Northwestern University respectively. Sophomore goaltender Sarah Mueller made a strong showing in both efforts though, as she recorded a total of 14 saves.

Mueller blocked seven of Northwestern’s shots Sunday in Oxford. Many of those shots came from inside of the circle, requiring an aggressive, pad-stacking display of athleticism. However, Northwestern forwards Regan Mooney and Megan Jamieson’s inbounding corner-shot plays proved to be the difference, accounting for two timely second-half goals.

Redhawk underclassmen Gabby Goldach and Kaitlin Evans stepped into critical offensive roles over the weekend to contribute five combined shots. Nonetheless, Miami certainly missed graduated forwards Mary Hull and Kate Snyder, who scored 35 percent of the team’s points in 2010.

“The seniors who we lost were great players — core members of the team,” senior midfielder Amanda Seeley said. “They had the speed, the dedication and the motivational skills that brought our team together.”

Seeley and other ‘Hawk back/midfielders put on unrelenting pressure through the neutral zone against the Wildcats. They provided for the forwards both offensive momentum with strong outlet passes along each sideline and encouragement after dispiriting collisions with the Northwestern defense.

“[The 2012 class] has their personal goals and has experienced many different senior classes; we are all on the same page for setting the example of hard work, mental toughness and inner motivation,” Seeley said. “The team has started out this season with such positive bonding, and we are pretty relaxed. Each senior has their role on the team and have high hopes for each other member of the team to take care of business.”

Of course, with every early season contest, Miami grows farther from last season’s Mid-American Conference (MAC) championship loss to Kent State University. Less than a year later, the 2011 roster searches for a former clarity and attempts to turn a possible title game hangover into the consistent motivation to reach 2010’s highly placed bar.

“I think we have a lingering taste of a championship left in our mouths,” Seeley said. “Making it all the way is always in the back of our minds, but we are more focused on the journey and on cultivating a season this year that will make the next coming year that more lucrative.”

The Red and White hit the road for a contest at 3 p.m. Sept. 2 against Monmouth College in West Long Branch, NJ.