Ohio ends Mid-American Conference play Saturday with a game that is always important, the Battle of the Bricks against rival Miami (10-7, 4-1 MAC), but a little extra is on the line this time as the winner will get the second seed going into the conference tournament.
Paula Portugal is the leading goal scorer for Miami with 14, second in the MAC.
She's not the lone threat, however. Three other players have contributed at least five goals and 12 players scoring a goal this season. 1/4 of Miami’s 44 goals have come off assists from Carla Romagosa, whose 11 lead the conference.
Miami has been solid defensively as well. The team has only allowed 1.82 goals per game and 9.9 shots per game, while keeping opponents to three goals or less in all but two games.
Alysa Xavier has been solid in goal for the Redhawks with 67 saves on the season and a conference leading 6 shutouts.
Ohio (6-10, 3-2 MAC) is playing their best field hockey of the season, according to coach Neil Macmillan, despite having allowed opponents 61 shots over the past three games, as the Bobcats are not allowing goals and converting on their own opportunities each game.
“Either team wouldn’t want it any other way, to be able to play a meaningful game against your rival, last weekend of the season,” Macmillan said.
The seeding for the MAC conference championship is pretty simple: if the Bobcats win, they are the second seed and Miami the third.
But if the Bobcats lose, it becomes complicated. Potentially three teams could be tied at 3-3, with tiebreakers deciding the two teams out of the three that make the conference championship.
To avoid all the tiebreakers, Ohio just has to beat Miami on Saturday and then the two teams will then face off again as the No. 2 and 3 seeds in the conference championship.