The Miami RedHawks will head to the Mid-American Conference Tournament next weekend in the perfect state of mind following their come-from-behind 3-1 win over rival Ohio.
Even though Miami and Ohio have already qualified for the MAC Tournament, which is scheduled to take place November 2nd and 3rd in Oxford, both teams were trying to improve their seeding ahead of next weekend’s affair.
Ohio (8-8, 2-3 MAC) did start out the better of the two teams. Senior Laura Mastro fired the Bobcats in front, but they were unable to hold onto the lead. Goals from Ali Froede, Olivia Miller and Valentina Neira gave the Bobcats their third loss in their last four contests.
The Bobcats were out-shot by the RedHawks, 12-9 and had four shots on goal compared to Miami’s ten. Miami executed six penalty corners in the match, while Ohio executed only two.
Brittany Walker was kept busy this afternoon as she made seven saves for the Green and White. Sarah Mueller made three saves for Miami.
In the 10th minute, the ‘Cats took the lead. Adele Sammons found Cathryn Altdoerffer from a penalty corner. Altdoerffer laid the ball off for Mastro, who unleashed a shot past Mueller to give the Bobcats an ideal start. The goal was Mastro’s second of the season.
Walker was put to the test in the 13th and 14th minutes, but she stood tall both times to preserve the Bobcat lead.
Taylor Brown almost doubled the lead against Ohio’s local rivals in the 20th minute, but her shot was saved by Mueller following Sammons’ penalty corner.
Miami (10-9, 4-1 MAC) tied the match at one in the 23rd minute. Emily Gruesser found Leni Gross via a penalty corner, and she laid the ball off for Froede, who hit an unstoppable drive to swing the momentum to the home side.
In the 42nd minute, Gruesser tried to give Miami the lead, but her shot was well-saved by Walker.
The game was still tied at one in the 48th minute, until Miller gave Miami the lead. Gruesser found Bea Dechart on a penalty corner, and Miller’s shot went past Walker to put Ohio in danger of losing to Miami for the first time in four meetings.
After Brown and Gross picked up yellow and green cards respectively, Neira iced the game for the RedHawks. In the 62nd minute, Gruesser assisted Neira’s goal, which was a breakaway opportunity that was converted for the home side.
Both teams made a flurry of substitutions late on, but neither side could grab a late goal.
Ohio will head back to Oxford on Friday, November 2nd for the MAC Tournament. They have been awarded the four seed, which means they will play the one seed, which happens to be Miami, the host of the tournament this season. In the other semi-final, second seeded Kent State will face-off against third seeded Central Michigan. The Bobcats and RedHawks tilt is scheduled for noon on Friday.
Player of the Game: Emily Gruesser. The star of the show for Miami played a part in every goal Miami scored today. She was the inspiration Miami needed to get past a motivated Ohio team. Her play-making ability will be needed if Miami plans to get past Ohio again on Friday.
Ohio Verdict: They started the game well, but they had no answer for Gruesser. After winning three in a row in the middle of the season, they have lost three of their last four, and have barely made it into the tournament. Their offense will need to get going, and the defense needs to play better if they want to beat Miami at the second time of asking.
Miami Verdict: They outplayed Ohio in the second half, and they were the deserved winners. They took the first punch, but they showed Ohio why they are the number one seed in the MAC Tournament. With the tournament on their home field, they will be considered the favorites to win the tournament. If they get past a hungry Ohio team, it will be hard to imagine them not winning the regular season and conference tournament championship this season.