Kennan Belau, For The Miami Student

The Miami University field hockey team (0-4) hosts the Longwood University Lancers (0-5) in its home opener 11 a.m. Saturday.
Longwood has played one ranked opponent this season, falling 6-2 to ninth-ranked Duke last Sunday.
This Sunday, the RedHawks will travel to Columbus to take on the No. 23 Ohio State University Buckeyes in their home opener. The Buckeyes are 2-2, including a 1-1 mark against currently ranked opponents.
The Scarlet and Gray defeated No. 24 University of New Hampshire 1-0 and lost 5-0 to the third-ranked University of Maryland Terrapins.
The RedHawks feel confident they can secure their first win of the season this weekend.
“This upcoming weekend is about making a statement for ourselves and continuing to rise the level of play,” senior midfielder Olivia Miller said.
Miami’s best opportunity to pick up a win will likely be against Longwood. The Lancers are 0-5 and have given up 3.75 goals a game, more than one goal higher than Miami’s goals against average this year.
However, Longwood is also scoring more than the Red and White, averaging 1.50 goals per game compared to Miami’s 0.25 goals per game.
Both teams have been outshot this season by large margins. Longwood is being outshot by an average of 18.5 to 7.5 shots per game, while Miami is being outshot 17.8 to 5.5 shots per game.
The RedHawks think their low shot total is more a reflection on their high caliber opponents than on their own game plans.
“The offensive skills of our opponents brought a more defensive mentality,” sophomore midfielder Ali Froede said. “Our defense did well adjusting and reacting.”
The key against Longwood will be goalkeeping. Miami junior goalkeeper Sarah Mueller has a .778 save percentage this season, while Lancer freshman goalkeeper Meg Mitchell has a .667 save percentage.
The Buckeyes will be another test for the ‘Hawks, as it will be their fourth against a ranked opponent.
Ohio State is being outscored by an average of 1.75 to 1.00 goals per game, despite outshooting its opponents by an average of 12-10 shots per game.
Senior forward Danica Deckard has scored all four of Ohio State’s goals on the year, so shutting her down will be crucial for Miami. Junior goalkeeper Emma Voelker has a 1.74 goals against average and a .708 save percentage for the Buckeyes.
“The focus is to play together as a team and bring the momentum from last Sunday,” Froede said. “We played hard for 70 minutes and worked together, and that mentality and hunger will carry us.”

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