The Miami RedHawks continued their undefeated conference play this weekend with a 2-1 victory over Longwood University on Sunday and a decisive 1-0 win over the reigning Mid-American Conference champions Kent State University on Friday.
The RedHawks improve to 6-6 on the year (4-0 MAC) while Longwood fell to 10-3 and Kent State dropped to 4-8.
While Kent State out shot MU 16-6 and led in penalty corners 12-6, the RedHawks were able to hang on with an early goal and aggressive defensive play.
Junior midfielder/forward Paula Portugal notched her ninth goal of the season in the fifth minute of play against the Golden Flashes, coming off of a penalty corner pass from junior midfielder Estel Roig. This point put Portugal into fifth place on Miami’s all-time points with 89. She passed former All-American Bea Dechant.
“It was very complicated to develop any play due to the pressure we received from Kent State’s defense,” head coach Iñako Puzo said. “They did not let us be comfortable on the field at any time. I’m glad that we were up to the challenge today and able to handle it. Kent State has a great team with a lot of experience so this win has an amazing value for us.”
After her seven-save shut-out of the reigning champs, junior goalkeeper Maddie Passarella earned the MAC’s Defensive Player of the Week honors. Her first time receiving the MAC award,she was also named Athlete of the Week for Miami sports because of her performance.
“Maddie’s performance in the cage was excellent,” Puzo said. “She kept us in the game and her performance had a big impact on the scoreboard.”
Carrying the momentum from their 1-0 victory, Miami hosted Longwood on Sunday when the RedHawks outshot the Lancers 14-10.
“We have great basic skills and great fitness, but I think at the beginning of the season we were missing the heart and that passion and that fight you have to come to the games with,” Puzo said. “I think that lately we have been doing a better job, against Kent State and now against Longwood.”
Freshman forward/midfielder Lexie Nugent scored both goals for MU. The first, coming in the 33rd minute of play, was tipped in off a pass from freshman forward Allie Grace Joyner.
The Lancers proceeded to tie the game in the second half, but with less than five minutes left in regulation, Nugent knocked in the rebound off a shot by Portugal.
“We still have some MAC games and we have to focus on those because that was a great win and it was hard but the season is not over,” senior midfielder/forward Henni Otten said.
Miami looks forward to a tough non-conference matchup against No. 2 Duke in Durham, NC on Sunday, Oct. 15 at 1 p.m.