The Miami University field hockey team pulled out a victory in two overtime games to end its regular season. The RedHawks are now the No. 3 seed in the Mid-American Conference (MAC) Tournament, which starts Friday.
“The truth is that these games get you ready when you need to perform your best,” head coach Inako Puzo said. “And now going into the MAC tournament we can’t make mistakes and overtime is always an option.”
The first game for the weekend finished Miami’s regular MAC season play as it battled against Central Michigan University in a double overtime game that lasted 97 minutes and ended with a 2-1 final score.
“We kept bringing persistency every half and after every timeout, so we got the job done,” junior back Ali Froede said. “Both teams definitely brought some fight to the game, and we showed character this game and kept fighting until the very end by getting shots even after shots weren’t going in.”
The RedHawks scored the go-ahead goal with two and a half minutes left in the second and final overtime. Froede scored the game-winning goal from the top of the circle by firing it into the back of the net for her ninth goal of the season.
Miami had a large advantage in shots for the game as it outshot Central Michigan 27-8. It also had the advantage in penalty corners, 13-6.
“We left everything on the field,” senior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller said. “We showed persistency by taking what seemed like a million shots until we finally scored again and I think that is what this team is all about and why we want to win the MAC championship.”
In their game Sunday, the RedHawks faced Providence College and were able to find some stamina to battle through yet another overtime, as Providence tied the score in the second half at one.
The game was defensive-heavy for Miami as it defended 28 Friar shot attempts. The Friars also had more penalty corner opportunities, taking 14 attempts. Miami took 15 shot attempts and had eight penalty corners.
“We fought with everything we had, especially after yesterday’s game which was hard on our legs,” Mueller said. “What helped us win the game was us fighting for each other.”
In the first half, Froede was able to give the RedHawks a short-lived lead as she rebounded a deflected shot.
The RedHawks pulled out the victory shortly after the beginning of overtime, when senior midfielder Emily Gruesser regained her deflected shot attempt and sent the ball into the back of the net for a second straight overtime victory.
Mueller also tied her career-high record with 14 saves in goal against the Friars.
“Sarah put together an outstanding performance today,” Puzo said. “I don’t think we see a goalkeeper playing better than she did today.”
Miami also celebrated their five seniors Sunday and recognized them following the game as it was their last regular season game as RedHawks.
“Being my last regular season game, the fact that I was able to put it away in over is awesome and was just a great finish,” Gruesser said.
Miami hosts the MAC Tournament Friday. Miami finished regular season play with a 10-9 record.
“We haven’t had a single overtime game this whole season, and so of course the last two games we had to make it exciting, but mentally we were ready to get the job done,” Gruesser said. “But we went in thinking let’s end on a good note, and these were great games leading up to the MAC tournament as these help give us the mentality that every game is going to be a fight to the finish so we can’t let other teams push us off the ball and we need to just fight as hard as we can.”